Croatia to Consider Its Response to Russian Actions

By 23 March 2018

ZAGREB, March 23, 2018 - EU leaders have agreed a rather sharply worded statement condemning Russia for a recent nerve agent attack in England, and some countries are considering expelling Russian diplomats or withdrawing their ambassadors from Moscow, Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said in Brussels early Friday morning.

"Several EU member states are considering denying hospitality to a certain number of accredited Russian representatives or withdrawing their ambassadors from Moscow," Planković said after the first day of the EU summit.

The EU leaders agreed a statement on the nerve agent attack on former double spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter in Salisbury, England. After British Prime Minister Theresa May presented the information gathered by British services, all the leaders agreed that the Russian Federation was most likely behind the attack.

Asked how Croatia would respond, Plenković said that the state leadership was meeting on Monday and that they "will see how to show solidarity with the United Kingdom." "This is a serious political problem that threatens and violates international law and the conventions banning the use of chemical weapons," the PM said.

Asked if Croatia had found itself in an awkward situation after President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović invited her Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin to visit Croatia, Plenković said that this was a continuation of talks that had taken place several months previously in Moscow and Sochi.

"This is a completely different issue in a different context. Many countries have relations with Russia, and after all the United Kingdom has said it will maintain communication with Russia, as will the EU, and there is nothing unusual about it," Plenković said.

Apart from relations with Russia, the EU leaders also discussed proposals for taxation of the digital economy, relations with Turkey, and the Western Balkans. The meeting continues on Friday morning when the leaders of 27 member states will adopt guidelines for the continuation of Brexit negotiations. After that, the leaders of the 19 eurozone countries will discuss further integration of the economic and monetary union.