At last week’s European Council meeting, EU leaders unanimously agreed with the United Kingdom government’s assessment that the Russian Federation is highly likely to have been responsible for the attack in Salisbury on 4 March 2018, and that there is no plausible alternative explanation. They affirmed that all EU Member States stand in unqualified solidarity with the United Kingdom in the face of this grave challenge to our shared security.
The use of chemical weapons, including the use of any toxic chemicals as weapons, by anyone, anywhere, is particularly shocking and abhorrent. The attack in Salisbury was not just an attack against the United Kingdom, but an affront to the international rules-based system on which we all depend for our security and wellbeing.
In light of the European Council Conclusions, and following an assessment conducted by the security services and relevant Departments, I have briefed the Government on my intended course of action. The Secretary General of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has subsequently met with the Ambassador of the Russian Federation and informed him that the accreditation of a member of his staff with diplomatic status is to be terminated, in line with the provisions of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations. The individual in question is required to leave the jurisdiction.
The Tánaiste reiterates his condolences to the Russian people and particularly to the families affected by the devastating fire in a shopping centre in the Russian city of Kemorovo. Our thoughts are with the many victims and their loved ones at this very difficult time.