The expulsion of Russian diplomats by different countries in the West won’t go unanswered, according to Russia, which in a statement on Wednesday, said they’ll be responding to the move which has occurred over Sergei Skripal, a double agent from Russia, who was poisoned in the English city of Salisbury.
A nerve agent was used to poison the Russian agent and his daughter, which led to allegations by the British against the Kremlin and arguments ensuing between the two nations as a result. The situation since then, has escalated to responses from other nations as well, who hold Russia responsible, with even some of the allies of the Kremlin, removing Russian diplomats from their countries.
Recently, Montenegro announced that a Russian diplomat will be expelled from the country, some of the ambassadors in Moscow, from countries such as Slovakia, Luxembourg and Malta were recalled to consult on Wednesday. Russia has previously found Slovakia and Montenegro to be close allies, despite both of them being part of the NATO alliance led by the United States.
However, the biggest political initiative was taken by the U.S. who expelled 60 Russian diplomats from the country on Monday, which will dent hopes of a friendly relationship forming between Russian President Vladimir Putin and U.S. President Donald Trump.
In a statement made to a news agency, Valentina Matviyenko, who’s a speaker of the upper house of parliament and a Kremlin loyalist, said there would be Retaliation on part of Russia. She said there was no doubt, that parity would be restored in terms of the number of diplomats that have been expelled.
The news agency also reported the statement of Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu informing that, a training flight being conducted for the first time since the Cold War, of a Russian military aircraft travelling from to North America via the North Pole. However, no statement was provided that the move was in response to the expulsion by the U.S., whose navy is currently training in the Arctic Circle, which is said to be a five-week exercise.
This is also the biggest expulsion by the West of Russian diplomats since the Cold War, with a range of countries including Denmark and Australia, sending home more than 100 diplomats in total.
Russia has denied the allegations of the attack on Skripal and have termed the incident, as part of a ‘Russophobia’ campaign saying, that its enemies are using the poisoning to their advantage. In response to these allegations, 23 British diplomats have been expelled by Russia as well, which is exactly the amount of diplomats expelled from the Russian embassy in London. Adding to the allegations from both sides, is Russia’s insistence that the poisoning of Skripal and his daughter was carried out by the British intelligence services.
In a statement made by the Foreign Ministry, the Russians have said that they will consider this as an attempt on the lives of Russian citizens, if they find no evidence to the contrary.