British diplomats to be expelled from Moscow in retaliation, Russian ambassador says
Alexander Yakovenko, the Russian ambassador to the UK, has confirmed that British diplomats will be expelled from Moscow. Asked in an interview with Sky News about what would happen after May’s statement, he said:
There will be expulsions. As you understand in diplomatic practice, there will be answers from the Russian side.
When he was asked to clarify if this meant British diplomats being expelled from Moscow, he replied.
In diplomacy, there is always reciprocity.
He also said that what the UK government was doing was “absolutely unacceptable” and that it should refer the matter to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. He said:
We consider these measures made by the British government absolutely unacceptable, and I’ll tell you why. We believe Britain should follow international law. Under obligations under the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, if they have any suspicions on nerve gas or something like that, they have to make an application to the organisation and make a request. And, so far, we did not get any samples.
The UK government’s response has been that, while it has the option of taking the case to the OPCW, it is under no obligation to do so.