NATO Joins More Than 20 Countries In Expelling Russian Diplomats

01 April, 2018, 01:50 | Author: Genevieve Gibbs
  • Technology       by Mahmood Idrees | Published

Over 25 NATO member states will expel Russian diplomats over the poisoning of former GRU Colonel Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia, ARMENPRESS reports NATO's Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg announced, adding that NATO has reduced the staff of Russia's mission to the NATO from 30 to 20. "I will also deny the pending accreditation request for 3 others", said Stoltenberg.

Australia, Canada, Ukraine and 18 European Union states followed with smaller-scale expulsions, most recently coming from Belgium which on Tuesday evening announced the dismissal of one Russian diplomat.

These decisions come as a continuation of the diplomatic demarche of the countries of the West due to the use of the nerve agent in the UK. "This will send a clear message to Russian Federation that there are costs and consequences for their unacceptable pattern of behavior".

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Earlier in March, former spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter, who was in England to meet him, were poisoned in Salisbury.

Skripal, who was freed from Russian custody in 2010 in a "spy swap" with the U.S., was found almost comatose on a bench, as was his daughter Yulia. In order to make a point that attacks on foreign soil will be dealt with iron fist, 25 partners and members of North Atlantic Treaty Organisation have expelled at least 140 top ranking Russians working in the concerned countries ever since the news of Skripal's poisoning has surfaced.

British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said the mass expulsions were "a blow from which Russian intelligence will need many years to recover".

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May says "their condition is unlikely to change in the near future, and they may never recover fully".

President Donald Trump huddled with Germany's Angela Merkel and France's Emmanuel Macron in a pair of phone calls on Tuesday afternoon in which the world leaders discussed an assassination attempt on an ex-Russian spy living in the United Kingdom. More than 50 people have been assessed in hospitals.

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