Updated: 03/04/18 : 14:06:52
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Russian Ambassador to Ireland says expulsion of diplomats is 'not the end of the world'

The Russian Ambassador to Ireland says the expulsion of diplomats from both countries is 'not the end of the world'.

Yuri Filatov has suggested that some within the British Government may actually be behind the Salisbury poisoning attack.

The UK claims Moscow was responsible - something the Kremlin denies.

Ireland is among 29 countries who have expelled Russian diplomats as the fall out continues - while an Irish diplomat in Russia has also been sent home.

Speaking to the media this afternoon Ambassador Filatov says despite this, relations remain strong between the two countries.

He said: "The incident is very unfortunate.

"It has been unwarranted and doesn't have any bearing with the real state of things, but it is not the end of the world and I think we have a very positive agenda before us."

Ambassador Filatov said: "The Russian Government have asked the Executive Council of the OPCW (Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons) to call an extraordinary session in The Hague tomorrow.

"We hope to discuss the whole matter and call on Britain to provide every possible element of evidence they might have in their hands.

"Russia is interested in establishing the whole truth of the matter and we hope certainly that this meeting will help to return to at least the realm of normality within the realm of international law and, let's put it, decency in international relations."

Mr Filatov said the British Government had put the blame for the Salisbury incident on his country without presenting any evidence.

He added: "The British authorities should answer these questions.

"If they choose to ignore them there are ample grounds to assume that we are dealing with a grand scale provocation organised in London aimed to discredit Russia.

"We certainly reject any notion or claim of Russian involvement in the Salisbury incident.

"We will not tolerate this kind of irresponsible and basically indecent behaviour on the part of the British Government. They will have to answer for that."

Mr Filatov said the general public in Europe and some other nations did not buy the claim put forward by London.

"Even countries which took part in the so-called solidarity demands (expulsion of Russian officials) have doubts and they acted, as we know, on grounds which have nothing to do with Salisbury but mainly to do with some other agenda bilaterally or multilaterally."

He said Russia was seeking answers from France about its grounds for joining any kind of operation designed by Britain and any information it can share.

"The whole plot is evolving involving everybody except Russia which is being blamed