Russia Considers Croatia’s Decision to Be Unfriendly Act

By 27 March 2018

ZAGREB, March 27, 2018 - The Russian Embassy in Croatia expressed regret over the Croatian government's decision to expel a Russian diplomat as a sign of solidarity with the United Kingdom over the poisoning of former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal in the UK, describing its decision as an act of hostility.

By deciding to expel a Russian diplomat, Croatia has sided with the United States and 14 EU member states in a coordinated response to the poisoning of the former Russian double agent and his daughter in early March.

The Russian Embassy said it deeply regretted that Croatia, in a show of bloc solidarity with certain EU and NATO countries, had made a hasty and ill-judged decision whose consequences would have a negative impact on the development of the two countries' relations, including their trade and economic cooperation. It added that the latest developments were all the more regrettable as they were occurring at a time when the Croatia-Russia cooperation was starting to develop at an appropriate pace.

"We consider this act unfriendly and contrary to objectives and interests of Russia-Croatia relations, not to mention the search for the reasons and those responsible for the incident that occurred in Salisbury on March 4, the investigation of which is biased," the embassy said.

It also noted that Russia would respond and that counter-measures would follow in the shortest time possible.

Addressing a news conference earlier in the day, Prime Minister Plenković said that Croatia had decided to show solidarity with the UK in sending a political message to Russia over the attack on the Russian double agent by declaring an unnamed Russian diplomat in Croatia a persona non grata. "This is a political message of solidarity given the nature of the attack in the UK, which is our ally and partner in the EU and NATO," said Plenković.

The Russian foreign ministry issued a statement denouncing the expulsions as "an unfriendly step" based on alliances rather than evidence.

"The provocative gesture of the so-called solidarity of these countries with London, which blindly followed the British authorities in the so-called Skripal case and which never got around to sort out the circumstances of the incident, is a continuation of the confrontational policy to escalate the situation," the statement said.