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30th Mar 2018

One Irish diplomat has been instructed to leave Russia, Department of Foreign Affairs confirms

Kate Demolder

The news follows the expulsion of one Russian diplomat from the Irish embassy earlier in the week.

An Irish diplomat has been instructed to leave Russia, the Department of Foreign Affairs has confirmed.

The news follows the expulsion of a Russian diplomat from Ireland earlier this week.

In a statement, Tánaiste Simon Coveney said: “There is no justification for this expulsion. Our staff do not engage in activities which are incompatible with their diplomatic status. The decision to expel an Irish diplomat is regrettable.”

Earlier this week, Coveney said that the decision to expel the diplomat from Ireland was made in solidarity with the United Kingdom following the Salisbury nerve agent attack, which targeted Russian military intelligence officer and double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia on 4 March.

Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov announced on Friday morning that it had summoned the envoys of foreign states which expelled Russian diplomats due to the Salisbury attack and they will be handing notes of protest accordingly, informing them of Russia’s retaliatory measures.

A notice was issued to the Polish Ambassador in Moscow, Wlodzimierz Marciniak, who is now due to leave Russia no later than 7 April.

A large number of diplomats from several other countries acting in solidarity with the UK following the attack have also been instructed to leave.

At the time of writing, diplomats from the US, UK, Holland, Finland, Ireland, Italy, Sweden, Poland, Czech Republic, Georgia, Germany, Ukraine, Norway, Spain and Croatia have been affected.

Lavrov announced on Thursday afternoon that Russia will close down the United States consulate in St Petersburg and expel 60 US diplomats in response to the US expelling 60 Russian diplomats and closing the Russian consulate in Seattle over the nerve agent attack in Salisbury.

Russia has 17 accredited diplomats currently at its embassy in Rathgar, Dublin.

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