Russia 'will definitely retaliate' against the West over diplomatic expulsions

  • Russia will definitely retaliate for the expulsions of Russian diplomats by multiple Western and east European governments, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Wednesday.
  • Peskov said Moscow would hit back against the mass expulsions of diplomats by the U.K., the U.S. and other allies "but will do so at the appropriate time," Reuters reported.
Moscow, with the Kremlin in the background.
Alexander Zemlianichenko | AP
Moscow, with the Kremlin in the background.

Russia will definitely retaliate for the expulsions of Russian diplomats by multiple Western and east European governments, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Wednesday.

Peskov said Moscow would hit back against the mass expulsions of diplomats by the U.K., the U.S. and other allies "but will do so at the appropriate time," Reuters reported.

Peskov, speaking at a press conference, gave no details on what Russia's response would be but said it would correspond to Russian national interests.

He said he hoped that countries carrying out expulsions will "properly examine British information" on the poisoning of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia on British soil in early March.

The U.K. said it was almost certain that Russia carried out the attack using a military-grade, Russian-made nerve agent, but Russia denies any involvement.

Under pressure

International relations between Russia and the rest of the world have hit a new low putting Russian President Vladimir Putin under new pressure as he gears up for a fourth term as president following a landslide victory in the recent presidential election.

"The start of Putin's fourth presidential term finds Russia in a state of uneasy tension with the EU member states, the U.S., and their allies," Otilia Dhand, senior vice president at consultancy Teneo Intelligence, said in a note Tuesday.

"While Moscow will likely reciprocate the expulsion of Russian diplomats by the U.S. and several EU countries, leading to further deterioration of diplomatic relations, additional economic sanctions against Russia appear unlikely in the near future. However, it appears equally unlikely that bilateral relations with these countries should improve anytime soon," she added.

Russia is facing a cold front from the U.S., the EU and beyond with a large list of countries expelling over 125 Russian diplomats in retaliation for the nerve agent attack. On Tuesday, NATO announced that it had expelled seven diplomats from Russia's mission to the alliance.

Russia has already responded to the U.K.'s expulsion of 23 diplomats with a like-for-like expulsion of British diplomats but has yet to respond to the U.S.' surprising 60 expulsions and the EU's multiple expulsions.