December 28, 2018 / 2:25 PM / 2 months ago

Russia and Britain to start returning diplomats in January: Russian embassy

FILE PHOTO: Russia's ambassador to the UK, Alexander Yakovenko, holds a news conference in the Russian Embassy in London, Britain, March 22, 2018. REUTERS/Simon Dawson

LONDON (Reuters) - Moscow and London have reached an agreement to return some staff to their respective embassies after they expelled dozens of diplomats early this year, the Russian embassy said on Friday.

The British Foreign Office and the Russian Foreign Ministry were not immediately available for comment.

“We have reached a general agreement that we will start to restore diplomatic staff in Moscow and in London some time in January,” the TASS news agency earlier quoted Russia’s ambassador to London Alexander Yakovenko as saying in a television interview.

“I am not sure that this would happen to all employees but at least half the staff would be in place,”

An embassy spokesman confirmed the remarks.

Britain expelled 23 Russian diplomats over accusations the Kremlin was behind a nerve toxin attack in March on former double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter in the English city of Salisbury.

Russia, which denies any involvement in the poisoning, sent home the same number of British embassy workers in retaliation.

Reporting by Maria Tsvetkova; Additional reporting by Michael Holden and Guy Faulconbridge in London; Editing by Catherine Evans and John Stonestreet

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