Joseph Muscat with Russian Prime Minister Dimitri Medvedev in 2016
Malta has recalled its Russian ambassador Carmel Brincat in solidarity with the United Kingdom after former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter were poisoned in Salisbury.
The foreign affairs ministry said the Maltese government condemns the Salisbury attack in the strongest possible terms, and agrees with the UK government’s assessment that the nerve agent attack was probably orchestrated by Russia.
“We stand in full solidarity with the United Kingdom in the face of this serious challenge to our common security,” the minister said. “We have therefore decided to recall Malta’s Ambassador to Russia, Carmel Brincat, from Moscow for political consultations.
Malta joins several of the UK’s western allies, including the United States, Germany, France, Italy, the Netherlands and Ukraine, in recalling diplomats from Russia as a sign of solidarity.
Malta’s ambassador to Russia Carmel Brincat
Relations between Malta and Russia have been relatively strained in recent years. In November 2016, Russia accused Malta of “falling victim to the West’s information war” after it denied entry to a Russian warship destined for Syria. A week later, Prime Minister Joseph Muscat travelled to Moscow for bilateral talks with his Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev, the first meeting between a Maltese and Russian Prime Minister in 24 years.
During last year’s election campaign, Muscat said he had received information from foreign intelligence services that Russia was trying to interfere in the Maltese election. A report by specialist magazine IntelligenceOnline said the interference was linked to Maria Efimova – the Russian former Pilatus Bank employee at the heart of the Egrant story. However, Muscat refused to comment on these reports.