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Russia’s relations with London’s allies over Skripal case spoiled for long — diplomat

MOSCOW, April 3. /TASS/. Russia’s relations with those countries that backed London over the so-called Skripal case have been spoiled for long, Russia’s Permanent Representative to the European Union Vladimir Chizhov said on Tuesday.

"Some countries did London’s bidding in this situation, others refrained from that. What I can say is that it is our relations with these countries, including the United Kingdom and the United States that is poisoned for sure and for long," he said in an interview with the Rossiya-24 television channel.

According to the Russian diplomat, EU countries seemed to be unwilling to support London’s accusations against Moscow. "The European Union, even if it followed [the UK’s lead to take measures against Russia over the Skripal case], did it unwillingly. First, when it happened, attitudes to the United Kingdom, like in all the previous years of its EU membership, were so to say specific on the continent. The only practical thing the European Union did was to recall my colleague, EU Ambassador to Russia Markus Ederer, for consultations. The rest was done on the national level," Chizhov noted.

"Some countries followed London, others - not. More than half of those who followed did it rather formally and symbolically," he said, adding that "some poison has seeped into relations with these countries as well."

Skripal case

On March 4, former Russian military intelligence officer Sergei Skripal, who had been earlier sentenced in Russia for spying for the UK, and his daughter Yulia were found unconscious on a bench near the Maltings shopping center in Salisbury, UK. Police said they had been exposed to a nerve agent.

Later, London claimed that the toxin of Novichok-class had been allegedly developed in Russia. With that, the UK rushed to accuse Russia of being involved, while failing to produce any evidence. Moscow refuted the accusations that it had participated in the incident and points out that neither the Soviet Union nor Russia have ever done research into that toxic chemical.

Without providing any proof, London expelled 23 Russian diplomats and suspended all planned high-level bilateral contacts. In response, Moscow expelled the equal number of UK diplomats. In addition, Britain’s consulate in St. Petersburg was ordered to be closed and the British Council’s operations in Russia were terminated.

In late March, a number of states, including the United States, Canada, Australia, France, Germany, and a number of other European countries, expelled more than 150 Russian diplomats in all in a show of solidarity with London’s stance. Last week, the Russian foreign ministry announced tit-for-tat measure against these countries.