March 26, 2018 / 2:30 PM / 4 months ago

Moscow says on diplomat expulsions: we will react

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia’s Foreign Ministry said on Monday it would respond to the decision by a large number of Western states to expel Russian diplomats, and accused their governments of blindly following their British ally into confrontation with Moscow.

Members of the emergency services wearing protective clothing work next to a children's play area near the bench where former Russian intelligence officer Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were found poisoned in Salisbury, Britain, March 13, 2018. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls

The ministry said in a statement that it viewed the expulsions, ordered in response to the poisoning of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal in the English city of Salisbury, as an unfriendly act and a provocative gesture.

Britain has blamed Russia for the poisoning of Skripal and his daughter Yulia, a charge Moscow denies.

“The provocative gesture of solidarity with London by these countries, who have bowed to the British authorities in the so-called Skripal affair and did not bother to understand the circumstances of what happened, is a continuation of the confrontational path to escalation,” the statement said.

“Britain’s allies ... are blindly following the principle of Euro-Atlantic unity, to the detriment of common sense, the norms of civilized international dialogue, and the principles of international law.”

“It goes without saying that this unfriendly act by this group of countries will not go without notice and we will react to it,” the statement said.

Reporting by Gabrielle Tetrault-Farber; Writing by Christian Lowe; Editing by Jon Boyle

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