Skripal Case: Will Russia Succeed in Avoiding New Economic Sanctions

The European leaders have officially agreed with the UK that Russia is likely to be responsible for the attack on a neurotoxic material in British Salisbury. In the joint statement made on March 22 the EU leaders said that they support the United Kingdom in the face of the blatant threat to their common security. It should be noted that the EU permanent representative in Russia is recalled for consultations.

It can be stated that British Prime Minister Theresa May succeeded in achieving that the EU’s position on the Salisbury incident be much tougher than before the summit. “Germany and France agree that additional steps, on top of the recall of the ambassador, are necessary,” Merkel said after the adoption of the joint statement.

Several EU countries are already considering the likelihood of deporting Russian diplomats or recalling their ambassadors from Moscow. Croatia, Latvia, Slovakia and the Czech Republic have announced such a probability. While recalling ambassadors reduces the chances of political dialogue, however, it should be noted that the parties had serious difficulties in the past as well.

At the same time, toughened rhetoric can help prevent new economic sanctions. It should be noted that the already existing sanctions against Russia cause serious dissatisfaction in some European countries, as evidenced by the victory of pro-Russian forces in different elections.

As for Russia’s reaction to all this, let’s note that Moscow expressed regrets to Brussels decision. Dmitry Peskov, a spokesman for the Russian president, said that the Kremlin does not know with what arguments London has convinced other EU countries. At the same time, Moscow has already stated that they are going to give an adequate response to each case of deportation of Russian diplomats by European countries.