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It is considered the biggest expulsion of diplomats in history: 27 countries ordered the departure of 143 Russian officials.
More than three weeks after the attack in the Kingdom with a nervous agentagainst the Russian ex-spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter, who had to be hospitalized seriously, the consequences of the incident that a large part of the international community holds responsible to the Kremlin continue to rise. accusation that Moscow denies.
It is the most serious diplomatic crisis of recent years between the West and Russia.
And in Russia they have a particular look. Chancellor Sergei Lavrov accused the United States of ” colossal blackmail ” and said there were “few independent countries” left in Europe.
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Is that after the United Kingdom expelled 23 diplomats, the United States to 60, and support will be sought in Europe to support the measure, one by one the countries joined.
The government of President Vladimir Putin assured that he would respond with measures of similar tenor.
“We must wait (a response), it must be expected at the appropriate time, everything will be done to correspond with the interests of the Russian Federation,” said Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov.
And the Russian reaction, in addition to Lavrov announcing “an inevitable response to the mass expulsion,” was not long in social networks.
“What consulate would you close?”
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Even the Russian embassy in the United States got into the discussion in networks when conducting a survey on their Twitter account.
“The US administration ordered the closure of the Russian consulate in Seattle, which US consulate in Russia you would close if you could decide.”
The options were: Vladivostok (18%), Yekaterinburg (35%) and St. Petersburg (47%), in a poll with almost 60,000 votes.
In the press, the reaction was sarcasm and anger, according to BBC Monitoring, the monitoring service of the international media of the BBC.
The main national television channels unanimously echoed the Kremlin line, suggesting that the Salisbury incident was being used simply as a pretext.
“The reason they give is the poisoning of Skripal, even though Moscow is still waiting for evidence of Russia’s participation,” said NTV, one of the three main chains.
“This is not like a war, but a crusade against Russia,” said Konstantin Blokhin, an expert with the Russian Academy of Sciences on a program on Channel One .
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Some Twitter users jokingly suggested that the expulsions could be counterproductive for the Kremlin.
“If they continue at this rate, the coup in the Kremlin will be carried out by the expelled diplomats, what you have to do for a good life.”
Dmitry Smirnov, correspondent for the Komsomolskaya Pravda newspaper , highlighted the reaction of the president of the European Council.
“[Donald] Tusk says: ‘Today, we, Europeans, mourn the victims of the tragic fire in Kemerovo with Russia …’ and then, instantly:” Today, 14 EU countries decided to expel Russian diplomats. “An example of crystal hypocrisy.”
What captured the attention of much of the population in recent days was on Sunday at a shopping mall in Kemerovo , Siberia, which left at least 64 people, mostly children.
Thousands of people protested there on Tuesday over alleged security breaches at the Winter Cherry shopping center. The investigators say that the fire alarm did not work and that the exits were blocked.
That tragedy left in the background the case of Skripal and its ramifications.
Skripal, 66, had been sentenced in Russia in 2006 to 13 years in prison for having collaborated with the British spy MI6. Four years later he went into exile in the United Kingdom, after the largest exchange of spies since the Cold War.
A climate of Cold War that is repeated, in an environment of spies, double agents and expelled diplomats, that tense relations between Russia and the West.