Russian Envoy to US: Skripal Case Pretext to Launch Long-Planned Smear Campaign

© REUTERS / Peter NichollsThe forensic tent, covering the bench where Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were found, is repositioned by officials in protective suits in the centre of Salisbury, Britain, March 8, 2018
The forensic tent, covering the bench where Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were found, is repositioned by officials in protective suits in the centre of Salisbury, Britain, March 8, 2018 - Sputnik International
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The Russian Ambassador to the United States, Anatoly Antonov, said on Sunday that the Skripal case was a pretext to carry out a provocation against Russia that has been in the planning stages for a long time.

"The developments in the United Kingdom served just as a pretext to carry out a provocation against Russia that was planned a long time ago. We have closely monitored, who attended the US Embassy in Moscow recently, what kind of people [attended it]," Antonov said in an interview with Russia's Channel Five.

Consulate employees leave the US Consulate-General in St. Petersburg - Sputnik International
US Diplomats Expelled from Russia Leave Consulate General in St. Petersburg
The ambassador indicated that those people were from the crisis center of the UK department of the US State Department.

On Monday, the US Administration expelled 60 Russian diplomats and closed the Russian Consulate General in Seattle, Washington, after Sergei Skripal, a former Russian spy who worked for UK intelligence, and his daughter Yulia were exposed to what UK experts claim was an A234 nerve agent.

The Russian Foreign Ministry, in response, announced the expulsion of 58 diplomats from the US Embassy in Moscow and two employees from the US Consulate General in Yekaterinburg, as well as the closure of the US Consulate General in St. Petersburg.

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