MOSCOW: The Russian foreign ministry today vowed to retaliate against the expulsions of its diplomats by the US and Canada, as well as 14 European Union countries and Ukraine over the poisoning of a former spy in Britain.
"We express a decisive protest over the decision taken by a number of EU and NATO countries to expel Russian diplomats," the ministry said in a statement, calling the moves a "provocative gesture." Moscow vowed that this "unfriendly step by this group of countries will not pass without trace and we will respond to it."
Russia said the move went against the interests of identifying those guilty for the attack in the English city of Salisbury on ex-double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia, who are both unconscious in hospital after being poisoned by a nerve agent developed in the Soviet Union.
It accused the countries who took part in expulsions of "pandering to the British authorities" and "not bothering to look into the circumstances of what happened," saying this was part of a confrontational dynamic aimed at "escalating the situation."
Moscow said the British authorities have issued "groundless accusations" against Russia and taken "a prejudiced, biased and hypocritical position."
It complained that it had received no information on the "attempted assassination of Russian citizens.