Monday, 26 March 2018

Spy poisoning: Russian diplomats expelled across US and Europe

The United States and its European allies are expelling dozens of Russian diplomats in a co-ordinated response to the poisoning of a former Russian spy in the UK.

President Donald Trump's move is the largest expulsion of Russian intelligence officers in US history.

Germany, France, Ukraine, Canada and various European countries have also expelled envoys.

Russia vowed to retaliate to the "provocative gesture".

Russia denies any role in the attack on Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, in Salisbury, southern England. The pair remain in a critical but stable condition in hospital.

EU leaders agreed last week it was highly likely Russia was behind the nerve-agent poisoning.

The US has ordered 60 envoys to leave, and diplomats are also being expelled from 14 EU countries - alongside the UK which already made the move last month.

British Prime Minister Theresa May said the show of solidarity gave a strong message.

"We welcome today's actions by our allies, which clearly demonstrate that we all stand shoulder to shoulder in sending the strongest signal to Russia that it cannot continue to flout international law," a statement from Mrs May's office said.

Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said the "extraordinary international response by our allies stands in history as the largest collective expulsion of Russian intelligence officers ever".

The Russian foreign ministry said the moves demonstrated a continuation of a "confrontational path".

"It goes without saying that this unfriendly act by this group of countries will not go without notice and we will react to it," its statement said.

BBC     News.

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