Tit-for-Tat: Russia expels 59 diplomats from 23 countries in retaliation
Russia expels 59 diplomats from 23 countries, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, as the row over the poisoning of a former spy and his daughter in Britain worsens.
The move was in retaliation for the wave of ejections of Russian officials after what the UK and its allies alleged was a nerve agent attack on Sergei and Yulia Skripal in the southern English city of Salisbury.
It came a day after Moscow ordered the expulsion of 60 US diplomats in response to a similar move by Washington earlier this week.
Russia also revoked the permit for the US consulate in St Petersburg – meaning it must shut down – and issued a protest note to the US Ambassador to Moscow, Jon Huntsman, regarding what it called “outrageous and unwarranted” diplomatic action against Russia.
Russia has already retaliated in kind against the UK for expelling 23 diplomats over the first known use of a military-grade nerve agent in Europe since World War II.
The Russian Foreign Ministry said Bristow had been told London had just one month to cut its diplomatic contingent in Russia to the same size as the Russian mission in Britain.
During the course of Friday, the Russian Foreign Ministry summoned senior embassy officials from Australia, Albania, France, Germany, Italy, Poland, the Netherlands, Croatia, Ukraine, Denmark, Ireland, Spain, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Moldova, Romania, Finland, Norway, Sweden, Canada and the Czech Republic.
A spokeswoman for the British Foreign Office did not say how many British diplomats would be affected but said Russia’s response was regrettable and Moscow was in flagrant breach of international law over the killing of the former spy.
“They (the diplomats) were handed protest notes and told that in response to the unwarranted demands of the relevant states on expelling Russian diplomats … that the Russian side declares the corresponding number of staff working in those countries’ embassies in the Russian Federation persona non grata,” the ministry said in a statement.
Britain’s government says the nerve agent used in the attack, Novichok, was developed in Russia. Moscow has denied accusations that it was involved in the assassination attempt.
Source: CNN, Reuters, Al Jazeera, Russia Today Shiva Shankar Pandian, Kayra Watson The Kootneeti Team
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