Georgia expels Russian diplomat
The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Georgia has declared one Russian diplomat as persona non grata and has given him seven days to leave the country.
Tbilisi stated that, in doing so, it is expressing solidarity with the United Kingdom over the Skripal case.
“The Georgian foreign ministry condemns the use of chemical weapons on the territory of the United Kingdom which has seriously affected the health of three people and posed a risk to the life and health of other people. This is a serious challenge to security,” read a statement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The statement further said that the Russian Interests Section diplomat at the Swiss Embassy in Georgia must leave the country.
After the August war of 2008, Georgia cut off diplomatic relations with Russia. No Russian embassy has operated in Tbilisi for the past ten years.
For Russian visa needs and other issues, a Russian Interests Section is available at the Swiss Embassy in Tbilisi where up to ten Russian diplomats work – one of which now has to leave in accordance with Tbilisi’s decision.
Former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter were found poisoned and slumped over on a bench at a shopping mall in Salisbury on 4 March.
Both of them are still in a coma. Sergei Skripal left Russia in 2010 and cooperated with British intelligence.
The PM of Great Britain, Theresa May, has stated that the Skripals were very likely poisoned by order of the Russian authorities. Great Britain has expelled 23 Russian diplomats from the country, and has called upon other countries to follow suit.
Russia denies all allegations of its hand in the attempted murder.
The Skripal case is the first since World War II in which chemical weapons had been used on European soil.
The Skripal family were poisoned by a nerve agent called Novichok, which was first invented by the Soviet Union. The production of it later resumed in Russia.