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Thursday 19 April 2018

Russia 'will retaliate' if Leo expels diplomats

Russian ambassador to Ireland Yury Filatov. Photo: Gareth Chaney/Collins Dublin
Russian ambassador to Ireland Yury Filatov. Photo: Gareth Chaney/Collins Dublin

Russia is preparing for instant retaliation if Taoiseach Leo Varadkar orders the expulsion of diplomats.

There was shock among Russian representatives in Ireland after the Government threatened action on the back of a nerve agent attack in the UK.

Sources say that any move to impose sanctions on officials here will be viewed as the beginning of a diplomatic war.

Tanaiste Simon Coveney has put together a group including senior officials from the Department of Foreign Affairs, An Garda Siochana and the Defence Forces to compile an options paper. It will be delivered to the Taoiseach within the next 48 hours, at which stage he seems certain to expel a number of Russian diplomats.

Russia's ambassador to Ireland Yury Filatov said any attempt to eject officials would be viewed as an "unfriendly action". He implied that British Prime Minister Theresa May is manipulating the Taoiseach and other EU leaders "into fighting someone else's unjust war".

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