March 27, 13:23 UTC+3
The top diplomat believes the decision by some Western countries to expel Russian diplomats is due to a colossal blackmail campaign and pressure from the United States
TASHKENT, March 27. /TASS/. Moscow won’t tolerate Western countries’ crassness and will definitely respond to the expulsion of diplomats, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Tuesday.
“Rest assured, we will respond,” Lavrov said in reply to a TASS question. “The reason is that no one would like to tolerate such obnoxiousness and we won’t either,” he added.
The decision by some Western countries to expel Russian diplomats comes as the result of a colossal blackmail campaign and pressure from the United States, he went on.
“The conclusion that readily offers itself is that we were quite right when said more than once that truly independent countries in the modern world and in modern Europe are very few. When one or two diplomats are asked to leave this or that country, with apologies being whispered into our ears, we know for certain that this is a result of colossal pressure and colossal blackmail, which is Washington’s chief instrument in the international scene,” Lavrov said. “This is what we hear in this situation and in relation to the Palestinian problem. ‘We will not be giving any money to the Palestinians until you say you will agree to the idea we have not formulated yet.’ In other words, ‘take it for granted.’ These ‘take-it-for-granted’ statements (charges against Russia in connection with the reported poisoning of former GRU Colonel Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia – TASS) are an insult to the system of Anglo-Saxon, British justice,” Lavrov said.
In his opinion, this decision by Western countries “reflects the determination of the ruling elites to ignore the voice of the people.”
“I’ve been shown some related publications. Germany’s daily Die Welt has conducted a poll to ask the respondents if more sanctions should be taken against Russia. More than 80% said NO. Such mechanisms of direct democracy should be used more often,” Lavrov said.
Skripal incident and expulsion of diplomats
A number of EU member countries, the United States, Canada and Australia earlier announced the expulsion of Russian diplomats over the poisoning of former Russian military intelligence (GRU) officer Sergei Skripal, which the UK blames on Moscow without providing any evidence. In particular, Washington expelled 60 Russian diplomats, including 48 embassy staff and 12 members of Russia’s Permanent Mission to the United Nations. In addition, the US authorities decided to close Russia’s consulate in Seattle.
The Russian Foreign Ministry stated that those unfriendly actions would not remain unanswered.
On March 4, ex-Colonel Skripal and his daughter Yulia suffered the effects of an alleged nerve agent in the British city of Salisbury. British Prime Minister Theresa May said the substance used in the attack had allegedly been the so-called Novichok-class nerve agent developed in the Soviet Union. London expelled 23 Russian diplomats. Moscow rejected all of the United Kingdom’s accusations, saying that a program aimed at developing such a substance had existed neither in the Soviet Union nor in Russia. 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.