LONDON, November 22. /TASS/. Newly appointed Russian Ambassador to the UK Andrei Kelin has submitted a copy of his credentials to the UK Foreign Office and assumed his duties on Friday, the Russian Embassy in the UK informed on its website.
"On 21 November 2019 the newly appointed Ambassador of the Russian Federation to the UK, Andrei Kelin, arrived in London. On 22 November, His Excellency has submitted the copy of his credentials to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and officially assumed his duties," the embassy informed.
In accordance with the established procedure, Kelin will later hand over his original credentials to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.
Kelin was appointed ambassador in early November. Previously, Kelin held the post of Deputy Director of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s Pan-European Cooperation Department. In 2011-2015, he was Russia’s envoy to the OSCE.
Russia’s previous ambassador to Britain in 2011-2019, Alexander Yakovenko, is currently in charge of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s Diplomatic Academy.
The state of Russian-UK relations
The new ambassador assumes his duties in the period of tense relations between Russia and the UK. The relations between both states were affected by the Skripal incident. On March 4, 2018, former GRU officer Sergei Skripal, who had been convicted in Russia of spying for Great Britain and later swapped for Russian intelligence officers, and his daughter Yulia suffered the effects of the so-called Novichok nerve agent in the British city of Salisbury. Claiming that the substance used in the attack had been a nerve agent allegedly developed in Russia, London rushed to accuse Moscow of being involved in the incident. The Russian side flatly rejected all of the United Kingdom’s accusations, saying that a program aimed at developing such a substance had existed neither in the Soviet Union nor in Russia.
Later on, London expelled 23 Russian diplomats and announced other anti-Russian measures, which forced Moscow to respond symmetrically by ousting the same number of British diplomats, closing the Consulate-General of the United Kingdom in St. Petersburg, and terminating the operations of the British Council in Russia.