Retaliation 'goes without saying': Russia's US ambassador on Skripal affair

Retaliation 'goes without saying': Russia's US ambassador on Skripal affair
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By Robert Hackwill
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Anatoly Antonov spoke to NBC, Euronews' US partner, in his first interview since the Skripal poisoning - questioning several aspects of the case and the West's response.

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In his first interview to any media since the diplomatic crisis between Russia and the West began, Russia's ambassador to the US, Anatoly Antonov, said no-one should expect Moscow to roll over for anyone.

Speaking to Euronews' partner, NBC's Savannah Guthrie, he added: "If anybody slap your cheek, your face, what will be reaction from your side?

"You will try to do, and you will retaliate. It goes without saying.

"The shape of our relations are very bad. It seems to me that there is a lot of mistrust. Mistrust between our two countries."

The British claim Russia tried to murder a former KGB colonel, a retired double agent who was living in Salisbury, along with his daughter.

"It seems to me that a tragedy in London was just only trigger for our bad relations. You see that, for expulsion of diplomats and the seizure of our consulate general in Seattle.

"And by the way, you'll see that I took one document from statement from the press secretary on the expulsion of Russian intelligence officers. It was mentioned that Russian consulate in Seattle, due to its proximity to one of our submarine bases and Boeing, was close. So what is the connection with tragedy in London?"

The closure of the Russian consulate in Seattle has been countered by the Kremlin, who ordered the closure of the US consulate in St. Petersburg.

Russia is proceeding with matching expulsions of diplomats from any nation that has expelled theirs.

The French foreign ministry said on Friday that Russia was expelling four members of the French embassy in Moscow.

France said the expulsions came as no surprise. "We regret this and want to point out that to this day Russia has refused to give any explanation about the attack in Salisbury," the ministry said.

Earlier in the day, the Russian foreign ministry expelled 59 diplomats from 23 countries.

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