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US ambassador will skip meeting on Skripal case, says embassy

On March 21, the Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman announced that the ministry has invited all the ambassadors accredited in Russia to a meeting on the Skripal case

MOSCOW, March 21. /TASS/. US Ambassador to Moscow Jon Huntsman will not attend the meeting on the Skripal case arranged by the Russian Foreign Ministry, Spokesperson at the US embassy Maria Olson told TASS on Wednesday.

"The US Ambassador to Russia Jon Huntsman will not attend the meeting today at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The US Embassy is considering sending a working level participant," she said.

On Tuesday, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova announced that the ministry had "invited all the ambassadors accredited in Russia to a meeting with the senior officials and experts of the Non-Proliferation and Arms Control Department" in order to discuss the Skripal case.

On March 4, former Russian military intelligence (GRU) Colonel Sergei Skripal, who had been convicted in Russia of spying for Great Britain and exchanged for Russian intelligence officers, and his daughter Yulia suffered the effects of a nerve agent in the British city of Salisbury.

British Prime Minister Theresa May said the substance used in the attack had been a Novichok-class nerve agent developed in the Soviet Union. London expelled 23 Russian diplomats and announced other restrictive measures against Moscow.

Russia rejected all of the Great Britain’s accusations. In retaliation to the UK’s steps, 23 British diplomats were expelled, the British consulate general in the city of St. Petersburg was closed and the British Council had to shut down its operations in Russia. At the same time, Moscow pointed out that further measures could be taken "should there be any more hostile actions against Russia.".