Germany boots out Russian diplomats
By Monitoring DeskTuesday – March 27, 2018
This demand was also communicated to the Russian embassy on Monday.
Last week, the European council (EC) agreed with the United Kingdom (UK) government’s assessment that it is highly likely that the Russian federation is responsible for the poisoning of Sergei Skripal and his daughter Julia in Salisbury and that there is no plausible alternative explanation.
To date, Russia has failed to react commensurately to the UK’s demand that it helps investigate the case. The expulsion of four diplomats sends out a message of unqualified solidarity with the UK and signals the German government’s determination not to allow attacks on our closest partners and allies to go unanswered.
This step is also being taken against the background of the recent cyber operation against the German government’s protected information technology (IT) system, which according to the information currently available to us was most likely the work of a “Russian source”.
We call on the Russian leadership to deal responsibly with the current situation: it is up to Russia to help clarify the circumstances of the attack, to answer the UK’s questions and to make a full and complete disclosure of its Novichok programme to the organisation for the prohibition of chemical weapons (OPCW).
Despite the decisive reaction of Germany and our allies and partners on Monday, we remain prepared to enter into dialogue with Russia.
German foreign minister Heiko Maas, in a statement on Monday, said that the attack in Salisbury shocked all of us in the EU. For the first time since the end of the second world war, a chemical warfare agent was used right here in Europe.
It is clear that there must be consequences. We in the EU have therefore adopted an unequivocal position and stand shoulder to shoulder with the UK.
We did not make the decision to expel the Russian diplomats lightly. However, the facts and evidence suggest that Russia is behind this attack. To date, the Russian government has not answered any of the unresolved questions and shown no willingness to play a constructive role in clarifying the circumstances of the attack.
We are thus signalling our solidarity with the UK. We continue to call upon Russia to finally live up to its responsibility, to play a constructive role and to fulfil its obligation to investigate the attack.
As for us, we will continue to closely coordinate our joint approach with our European partners as well as within NATO. We remain open to a constructive dialogue with Russia, which is still necessary on many international issues.