Ukraine explains reluctance to expel remaining Russian diplomats
Diplomatic relations between Ukraine and Russia have been reduced to a critical minimum, while expelling Russian consuls would cause a mirror move on the part of Moscow, which would be unacceptable for Ukrainian political prisoners held in Russia, according to First Deputy Chair of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, Iryna Gerashchenko.
Commenting on Ukraine's intentions in relation to possibly joining the EU and US preparing to kick out Russian diplomats in response to the notorious poisoning in UK, Gerashchenko wrote: "Firstly, there has long been no Russian ambassador in Ukraine as we never accepted his agrement. There is no Ukraine Ambassador to the Russian Federation, either. Our diplomatic relations have been reduced to a critical minimum," Gerashchenko wrote.
Read alsoUkraine shows full list of "Kremlin prisoners"According to her, there are only consuls and several rank-and-file diplomats left.
"Deportation of Russian consuls will cause the expulsion of Ukrainian consuls - and our political prisoners in Russia will remain face to face with the Mordor, without any chance to see a Ukrainian representative at least once in a few months, to feel minimal support," added Gerashchenko.
She recalled Ukrainian citizens imprisoned in Russia: Stanislav Klykh, Mykola Karpiuk, Roman Sushchenko, and Pavlo Hryb.
"Do you really want this? Or should we ask Klykh's mother, Karpiuk's wife, families of Sushchenko and Hryb, or other hostages?" Gerashchenko stressed.
Read alsoUkraine's Foreign Ministry protests against ban on doctors' visit to Ukrainian teen in Russian jailOn March 1 the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine adopted an appeal to foreign parliaments and parliamentary assemblies of international organizations calling them to condemn political repression in Russia against Ukrainian citizens, noting names of over 50 political prisoners.
As UNIAN reported earlier, Russian ex-spy Sergei Skripal, 66, and his daughter Yulia Skripal, 33, remain critically ill in hospital, after they were found unconscious on a bench in Salisbury, UK. The British Government says the two were poisoned with a military-grade nerve agent developed by Russia, while the Russian government denies any involvement in the attack.
In response to the poisoning, Britain has expelled 23 Russian diplomats, while Russia made a mirror move immediately.