Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s remarks at a meeting with Russian diplomats expelled from a number of countries on forged accusations in connection with Britain’s Skripal case, Moscow, April 9, 2018

I am happy to see you in good spirits. Your faces are cheerful. I am sure this will be the case in the future, too.

I will not discuss in detail the reasons for the early end to your missions abroad. You know them full well. It has nothing to do with the work you did and the tasks you fulfilled, promoting cooperation and good relations between the Russian Federation and the countries where you served. The expulsion of 150 Russian diplomats from almost 30 countries is an unprecedented provocation that has nothing to do with the task of promoting international cooperation and the implementation of the agreements stemming from the UN Charter and recorded in numerous international documents, including, of course, the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations.

As you know we have certainly given an appropriate response. We will never bow to ultimatums. This is not the language to speak with the Russian Federation. We will always do everything we can to protect the security and dignity of our citizens and the sovereignty and national interests of the Russian Federation in full conformity with international law.

I would like to express my gratitude to the members of your families that are with you through the hardships and uneasy situations that have been part of your work abroad.

As you know, the leadership of the Russian Federation did everything necessary to make your return home as comfortable as possible, doing everything we could in emergency circumstances and observing the deadlines that were categorically set forth by the countries of your stay.

I am sure that your future work will be productive and reliable. We will do everything we can despite the objective situation created by the unforeseen interruption of the missions of so many people to reduce your forced and short vacation and enable you to resume work on the foreign policy fronts of our large homeland.

I would like to wish you all the best, once again.