The U.S. and the UK ‘most likely” planned the expulsion of Russian diplomats in advance and the poisoning of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal was just a pretext for this move, Russian Ambassador to the U. S. said.
“The scale of damage and the preceding information preparation and support prove that it was most likely planned
in advance, but it was simply postponed in anticipation of a suitable occasion.
The absence of any facts proving allegations of Washington and London can not but arouse suspicions of close
coordination and joint planning of what happened,” Antonov said in a statement published on Facebook.
According to Antonov, the justification provided by the U.S. authorities regarding closure of the Russian consulate
in Seattle shows that the Skripal case was just a pretext for expulsion of the Russian diplomats.
A total of 16 EU countries, as well as the United States, Canada, Albania, Norway, Ukraine, Macedonia and Australia
announced on Monday their decisions to expel about 100 Russian diplomats in connection with Moscow’s alleged
involvement in the nerve agent attack on Skripal and his daughter in the UK city of Salisbury.
U.S. President Donald Trump, in particular, ordered the expulsion of 60 Russian diplomats, including 48 employees
of the Russian Embassy and 12 people who have been assigned to the UN in New York.
Trump also ordered the closure of the Russian consulate in Seattle.
The White House said in a statement that the consulate would be closed in particular due to its proximity to a
U.S. submarine base and the defense contractor Boeing.
Skripal, a former GRU colonel and a double agent who worked for UK intelligence, and his daughter Yulia have
been in hospital in a critical condition since March 4 due to exposure to what the UK experts say was a A234
UK Prime Minister Theresa May has accused Russia of orchestrating the attack and expelled 23 Russian diplomats,
while the European Union has expressed its solidarity.
The Russian side has strongly rejected the accusations and offered assistance in the investigation.
Moscow’s request for samples of the chemical substance used to poison Skripal was rejected.
Moscow expelled UK diplomats in response and ordered the British Council to cease its activities in Russia.