MOSCOW, March 25. /TASS/. The UK’s former ambassador to Russia Antony Brenton believes that the diplomatic hostility between the Kremlin and the West will "erode away" within "a few months," because both sides require a functioning relationship, the Independent newspaper reported.
"As part of our sanctions, we are not going to have any high-level contacts with the Russians for a while. This will begin to erode in a few months because you need to have high-level contacts on things," Brenton said.
"We will be slow to resume our ties, but we will in a few months’ time as we need to get back to being able to do business with the Russians," the diplomat added.
According to the Independent, although Brenton said he supported the actions taken by the government, he warned that the language that had been used thus far by government ministers had been "unnecessarily virulent."
On March 4, Sergei Skripal, former Russian military intelligence colonel, and his daughter Yulia suffered the effects of a nerve agent in the British city of Salisbury. Skripal was earlier convicted in Russia of spying for Great Britain and exchanged for Russian intelligence officers.
British Prime Minister Theresa May said the substance used in the attack had been a Novichok-class nerve agent developed in the Soviet Union.
Russia rejected all of the United Kingdom’s accusations. Moscow stressed that there were no programs to develop such a substance either in the USSR or in Russia. Without providing any proofs to its accusations, London expelled 23 Russian diplomats from the country and announced other anti-Russian measures. Moscow took retaliatory steps, expelling a similar number of British diplomats from Russia, ordered the closure of the British Consulate in St. Petersburg and termination of the activities of the British Council in Russia.