01:05 GMT02 April 2020
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    Expulsion of Russian Diplomats Over Skripal Case (109)

    Manuel Ochsenreiter, director of the German Center for Eurasian Studies and editor-in-chief of the German news magazine “ZUERST!”, talked to Sputnik about the expulsion of Russian diplomats by a number of Western countries.

    Sputnik: Fifteen European countries and the US have announced the expulsion of Russian diplomats in solidarity with Britain over the Skripal poisoning scandal. Why, in your opinion, is Italy on this list regarding its previously neutral position over the issue?

    Manuel Ochsenreiter: The Skripal incident all off the sudden "unified" the European governments. We shouldn't forget: before Skripal, the whole EU was ranting against the UK because of the Brexit negotiations. The anti-Russian sentiment now brings them together again in a "poisonous political harmony," since neither Russia nor Europe will benefit from that new escalation of the confrontation. Also Italy and its political leadership are under enormous political pressure to "fit into" this anti-Russian harmony. We should just imagine for a moment Rome wouldn't have gone in line with the other European countries: Brussels, London, Paris and Berlin would immediately go into aggressive rants against Italy. "Who is not with us is against us" is the cry these days. Rome can't afford to stand against this phalanx — even if it wants to.

    Sputnik: No evidence of Russia's involvement has been provided by the UK to Russia over the Skripal poisoning case. Instead, London's rhetoric is becoming even tougher each day and other countries have already joined in. Do you think it is because they all have their own interests in stirring up the scandal?

    Manuel Ochsenreiter: There might be a misunderstanding. The scandal is precisely only about the scandal — and not about any investigation or forensic evidence. The political consequences can be seen right now: More confrontation with Russia, greater "unity" of EU, a deeper alliance with US against "the Russian threat," minimizing the chances to lift the sanctions regime against Moscow. In other words: even if at the end there will be an investigation result which does not show any involvement of Russia or Russian structures in the Skripal incident — nothing will be taken back or lifted.

    The opinions expressed are those of speaker alone and do not necessarily reflect the position of Sputnik news.

    The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

    Expulsion of Russian Diplomats Over Skripal Case (109)


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