US, EU expel more than 100 Russian diplomats over Skripal case

Source: Fox News

More than 100 Russian diplomats from more than 20 countries were expelled in a co-ordinated response by the US and EU nations on Monday.

 

US President Donald Trump has ordered the expulsion of 60 Russians as the diplomatic dispute between Russia and the UK intensifies over a spy poisoning case.Up to 16 EU countries have also announced that they will expel 31 Russian diplomats.

The US – backing up its closest ally – said on Monday it was closing the Russian consulate in Seattle in response to the attempted assassination of former Russian spy and his daughter.

Russia vowed to retaliate to the “provocative gesture”.

It denies any role in the attack on Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, in Salisbury, southern England. The pair, who were poisoned with what investigators say was a military-grade nerve agent, remain in a critical but stable condition in hospital.

Skripal and his daughter Yulia were discovered unconscious in southern England [Rex Features]. Source: Al Jazeera News
Both are critically ill in a UK hospital after being poisoned with a military-grade nerve agent in the southern English city of Salsibury last month.

“The United States takes this action – in conjunction with our NATO allies and partners around the world – in response to Russia’s use of a military-grade chemical weapon on the soil of the United Kingdom, the latest in its ongoing pattern of destabilising activities around the world,” the White House said in a statement.

Australia is throwing out two diplomats suspected of being “undeclared intelligence officers”.

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said “the brazen attack in Salisbury was an attack on all of us”.

Backing the UK, Mr Turnbull cited interference in elections and threats to “the sovereignty of our partners”.

“This is about the actions of the Russian government” says PM Turnbull. Source: BBC

“That is why we are taking this action today with another 23 nations round the world. We are defying this lawlessness, this recklessness of Russia,” he said.

In addition, non-EU countries Norway, Albania, and Ukraine have announced the expulsion of respectively, 1, 2 and, 13 Russian diplomats.

Boris Johnson, Britain’s foreign secretary, said the coordinated move was “the largest collective expulsion of Russian intelligence officers ever”.

He called it an “extraordinary international response by our allies” and showed that “Russia cannot break international rules with impunity”.

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

But 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.

 

Sourced from: Al Jazeera, BBC

Compiled by: Kalyani S.