The Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) has placed an entry ban on the 23 Russians who were expelled from the UK in connection with the poisoning of former intelligence agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter, as announced in statement of the SBU’s website.
“SBU head Vasyl Hrytsak said that their activity is a brazen mockery of one of the key functions of the diplomatic representation determined by the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations of 1961 – to promote friendly relations between states,” the report states.
Drawing attention to Ukraine’s experience of opposing Russia’s hybrid aggression, Hrytsak emphasized that Russian spies, under the guise of diplomats, “are resorting more and more often to shameless provocation, intended to undermine the basis of international stability and security”.
On March 26, roughly 20 countries simultaneously announced the expulsion of Russian diplomats who had been involved in intelligence gathering activity, and on March 27 several other countries followed suit. New Zealand could not find anyone to expel, but supported the action. The UK, where the Russian defector spy Sergei Skripal was poisoned, declared this a demonstration of the West’s unity in the face of the Russian threat.
The UK announced the eviction of 23 diplomats from Russia as early as March 14.
Passers-by discovered Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia on a bench in Salisbury on March 4. The British authorities believe that they were poisoned with a nerve-paralysis agent of the Novichok class, produced in Russia (developed during the Soviet period), and that it is highly probably that Russia is behind the attack.