Sunday 16 December 2018

Russia expels Irish diplomat as row over nerve agent attack continues

Ambassador Yury Filatov. Photo: Arthur Carron
Ambassador Yury Filatov. Photo: Arthur Carron

Shona Murray and Kevin Doyle

One Irish diplomat has been instructed to leave Russia.

The Department of Foreign Affairs has confirmed the move to Independent.ie.

A spokesperson for Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs, Simon Coveney has said: “There is no justification for this expulsion.

“Our staff do not engage in activities which are incompatible with their diplomatic status. This decision to expel an Irish diplomat is regrettable.”

The Russian Embassy in Dublin has this evening said it should come as “no surprise” that an Irish diplomat is to be expelled from Moscow.

A spokesman said that the Russian Foreign Minister has summoned the heads of diplomatic mission to a meeting today.

“They were handed notes of protest and told that the Russian Federation declares persona non-grata the relevant number of diplomats from this countries working on diplomatic mission in Russia,” he said.

The spokesman said this was in response to the “unjustified expulsion of Russian diplomats based on proof free” accusations relating to the Skripal poisoning.

Numerous ambassadors from Western countries were summoned to the Russian foreign ministry today.

Ireland is one of several countries to receive the news that their diplomats were being expelled.

It was a tit-for-tat response to the US and other countries sending diplomats home.

One Russian diplomat from the Dublin embassy is due to leave Ireland in the coming days by order of the Irish state.

Earlier this week Russia's ambassador to Ireland Yury Filatov said that the move by Tánaiste Simon Coveney to expel the Russian diplomat in response to the Salisbury nerve agent attack "would not go unanswered".

Russia expelled 60 diplomats from the US yesterday.

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