Belfast Telegraph

Russian ambassador to Ireland defends expulsion of Irish diplomat

Russia's ambassador to Ireland has defended the expulsion of an Irish diplomat.

Yury Filatov said the measure was a principle of diplomacy after Ireland ejected a Russian representative over the Salisbury nerve agent poisoning.

The senior Russian Government official urged the Dublin authorities to use common sense.

The Republic was among several EU countries to take action in solidarity with the UK.

The ambassador said: "Nobody will doubt the leading principle of diplomacy, which is reciprocity.

"Basically you have to assume that every action finds its counter action, that is the way it is."

He expressed optimism it would not damage the positive relationship between the two countries where close ties exist in areas like business and agriculture.

He also suggested some who took solidarity action with the UK harboured doubts, alleging the general public in Europe and some states and nations did not buy the claim put forward by London blaming Russia for Salisbury.

Mr Filatov added: "Even countries which took part in the so-called solidarity demands have doubts and they acted, as we know, on grounds which have nothing to do with Salisbury but mainly to do with some other agenda bilaterally or multilaterally."

Ireland's foreign affairs minister Simon Coveney has described the Salisbury attack as an affront to international law and order.

Former Russian intelligence officer Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia remain in hospital following the March 4 incident.

Moscow's ambassador to Ireland said the expulsion of a Russian official from Ireland was "unfortunate" but did not have any bearing on the "real state of things".

"It is not the end of the world and we have a very positive agenda."

He said business and agricultural ties were developing.

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