27 Mar 2018 15:52

Russia to respond to Kyiv's expulsion of its diplomats - embassy

KYIV. March 27 (Interfax) - Moscow reserves the right to respond to Ukraine's decision to expel 13 Russian diplomats, the Russian embassy in Kyiv said in a statement posted on its website on Monday.

"This unfriendly step from Kyiv will inevitably complicate a constructive dialogue between Russia and Ukraine and will clearly hinder the bilateral normalization process. The Ukrainian side will be held responsible for the consequences. For its part, Russia reserves the right to respond," the embassy said.

The embassy said it received a note from the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry, which declared 13 Russian diplomats stationed in Kyiv, Odesa, Lviv, and Kharkiv persona non grata.

"We regret that the Ukrainian administration disregarded the actual state of affairs and supported the provocative campaign inspired by London, which seeks to escalate tensions and pushes for spiraling confrontation," the embassy said.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said on March 26 that 13 Ukrainian diplomats would be expelled "in response to the cynical chemical attack in Salisbury."

Ukrainian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mariana Betsa stated that 13 Russian diplomats were to be expelled from Ukraine as employees of security services engaged in the activity incompatible with their diplomatic status.