Luxembourg recalls ambassador to Moscow over UK spy poisoning
Luxembourg is recalling its ambassador to Moscow for consultations in the latest show of solidarity from EU states to Britain over the poisoning of an ex-spy, the government said in a statement on Wednesday.
The move comes just a day after the tiny but wealthy grand duchy said it would not follow the lead of 18 other EU states that have so far expelled Russian diplomats over the nerve agent attack in the English city of Salisbury.
“In the context of the Salisbury attack, the government of Luxembourg stands in full solidarity with Britain, faced by this grave challenge to our common security,” said a foreign ministry statement.
Noting that Luxembourg shared Britain’s assessment that it was highly likely Russia was responsible, it added that “Foreign and European affairs minister Jean Asselborn has decided to recall Luxembourg’s ambassador to Moscow for consultations”.
Asselborn had been quoted by broadcaster RTL on Tuesday as saying that Luxembourg would not expel any Russian diplomats.
“As far as Luxembourg is concerned, we have a very limited number of Russian diplomats here and, despite all our efforts, we have been unable to prove that any spy or person is working against Luxembourg’s interests,” he said at the time.
Luxembourg is one of the EU’s smallest states but is disproportionately influential due to its status as one of the union’s founding countries and the site of several of its key institutions.
Bulgaria, which currently holds the EU’s rotating presidency, has taken a similar step by saying it will recall its ambassador for consultations but not expel any Russian diplomats.
Austria is one of the key states that has said it will not take any action, saying it wants to be a bridge between east and west.
Greece, Cyprus, Malta, Slovenia, Slovakia and Portugal have also not taken any action so far.