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"Neutral" countries and "Skripal"
Material posted: Publication date: 12-04-2018

The world's attention now was forged to "the cause Skripal". A former GRU Colonel Sergei Skripal, spy on Britain, his daughter Julia was found unconscious in Salisbury on 4 March. London blamed the attack on Moscow. Russia denies all charges. Because of the incident, the UK and nearly 30 other countries have expelled Russian diplomats. Moscow responded balanced measures.

4 March 2018 former GRU Colonel Sergei Skripal, sentenced in Russia for espionage in favour of great Britain, and his daughter Julia were in Salisbury, according to the British side, effects of nerve agents. In critical condition were evacuated to the hospital. Later London made a statement that this substance was supposedly developed in Russia, and on this basis accused Moscow of involvement in the incident. The Russian side has categorically denied all the speculation on this score stating that programmes such substances neither in the USSR nor in Russia did not exist. Without presenting any evidence, London expelled Russian 23. In response, Moscow in the same number of staff of the British Embassy and ordered to close the Consulate General of Bulgaria in Saint-Petersburg and to stop the activities of the British Council in Russia.

Out of solidarity, not paying attention to the lack of evidence, more than 20 countries (including 18 EU countries) were also to expel Russian diplomats, calling them "undeclared intelligence agents". The same wording was used by the UK for all 23 Russian diplomats expelled from London. In particular, the United States plan to send diplomats 48 and 12 employees of the Russian mission to the UN. Among other things, will terminate the work of the Consulate General of Russia in Seattle. Even such neutral countries as Finland, Sweden and Ireland supported the London and expelled diplomats, although this is at odds with their policy of neutrality.

The President of Finland is Sauli Niinistö and the Ministerial Commission of the government on foreign and security policy decided that the country will receive one official with diplomatic status, which works in Embassy of the Russian Federation.

Ireland also announced the expulsion of a Russian diplomat in connection with the attempted assassination of the former Colonel of the Main intelligence Directorate (GRU) Sergei Skripal and his daughter in the British city of Salisbury. The foreign Minister Simon Coven said that accreditation by one of the staff with diplomatic status is terminated[i].

In support of the UK, Sweden has decided to expel a Russian diplomat. According to the government office, the murder in Salisbury is more than a bilateral issue between London and Moscow. This is another challenge to the international rules on the Russian side. Also Sweden expects that Russia will respond to all questions and will fully cooperate with the Organization for the prohibition of chemical weapons.

The two remaining neutral countries, like many other countries, did not support London. Vienna refused to take hostile action against Russian diplomats. The Russian Federation's relations with Austria are at a high level, so Vienna is in favour of retaining the accumulated positive interaction in various fields. You can also mention another reason why Austria did not support the UK. Austria is a neutral country, and its capital is headquarters of many international organizations (UN, IAEA, OSCE). And Vienna is ready to become a bridge between Russia and the EU to be a mediator in resolving the conflict.

Switzerland is also not succumbed to pressure from the US and the UK, refusing to expel Russian diplomats. In the case of the poisoning of former spy Sergei Skripal Bern is limited to only a condemnation and called for a fully investigate the incident. While the Swiss Bundesrat is under tremendous pressure, the newspaper notes. Especially by the British and Americans. Using diplomatic channels and public statements, they are trying to persuade the Swiss to the adoption of sanctions. Observers in Bern came to the conclusion that the British Prime Minister Theresa may is using the situation to get out of isolation after Brekzita. The solidarity shown by the EU, allowed it to tweak its image and show that she has influence in the international arena.

Despite coming Brickset, UK was able to convince the NATO allies and the European Union to go on an unprecedented step. 25 countries took the decision to expel over 150 Russian diplomats. The fact that not all countries of the European Union supported the appeal of the UK and not sent to Russian diplomats, the European Commission is perceived as not very peaceful. However, Austria and Switzerland stand in his way. Attempt to tarnish Russia the UK is not taking the first time. Suffice it to recall the case of A. Litvinenko, a former FSB officer who was poisoned, too. Coupled with diplomatic scandals and friction worsened bilateral relations between Russia and great Britain.

In the modern world to stay away from international conflicts is almost impossible. In this conflict, all of Europe stood on either side of the UK, on either side of the Russian Federation. Only two countries were able to stay away from this case – Austria and Switzerland. Does this mean that they are the only neutral country in Europe today?

 

[i] www.rte.ie/news/world/2018/0327/950312-salisbury/

 

Tatiana Ivanova

Tags: assessment , Russia , UK


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