Saturday 21 July 2018

Russian ambassador to Ireland launches scathing attack on UK government

Mr Yury Filatov speaking to the media on the grounds of the Russian Embassy on Orwell Road Dublin 6.
Photo: Justin Farrelly.
Mr Yury Filatov speaking to the media on the grounds of the Russian Embassy on Orwell Road Dublin 6. Photo: Justin Farrelly.
Kevin Doyle

Kevin Doyle

Russia's ambassador to Ireland has launched a scathing attack on the UK government, saying they are taking “absurd, hostile action”.

Yury Filatov believes the British Prime Minister has engaged in “hype” and “propaganda” for her political reasons.

And he claimed the UK are illegally preventing Russian authorities from gaining access to Yulia Skripal, who is seriously ill in hospital after being poisoned alongside her father Sergei.

The pair were found slumped on a bench in the Salisbury on March 4. The chemical used in the attack has been identified as part of a group of nerve agents developed by Russia known as Novichok.

Theresa May yesterday expelled 23 Russian diplomats from Britain but Valadmir Putin’s official rigidly deny any involvement.

On foot of recent reports that the Russian Embassy in Dublin is expanding its operation here and has been involved in spy activity, the Ambassador invited a select group of journalist to their property in south Dublin today.

He claimed reporting on their activities in Ireland was part of “a massive propaganda campaign against Russia”.

And referencing events in the UK, Mr Filatov said: “It’s a very sad case and affair. Not only because we are taking about harm done to people, not only because of some kind of chemical agent used in European countries, but also because of the highly irresponsible way the British government handled the whole incident.”

He said that “from the beginning” the whole intention of the UK authorities “was not to really investigate but to gain some political points, which is certainly obviously to an indiscriminate observer who is familiar with the political landscape now in London”.

“This is a most unfortunate turn of events,” he said.

Mr Filatov, who took up position in Dublin last November, said Moscow will quickly retaliate against the decision to expel diplomats.

“At this point in time the British government has taken absurd, hostile action against our diplomatic representation in the United Kingdom. I’m sure that, if not today, then certainly very soon we will give an answer to that. It will not go unanswered.

“It’s very worrisome situation when we have a government who are a nuclear power behaving in a most irresponsible, aggressive way.”

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