North Atlantic Treaty Organisation expels seven Russian diplomats over spy-poisoning

Stoltenberg says, despite the expulsions, Russian Federation will still have a diplomatic mission of 20 people at alliance headquarters in Brussels and that will allow Russian Federation to keep essential contacts with North Atlantic Treaty Organisation members.

"When one or two diplomats are asked to leave this or that country, with apologies being whispered into our ears, we know for certain that this is a result of colossal pressure and blackmail, which is Washington's chief instrument in the global scene".

The Prime Minister added: "It is also important to note that our partners are not only taking these measures out of solidarity with the United Kingdom, but also because they recognise the threat that these Russian networks pose to the security of their own countries and the pattern of Russian aggression which has affected us all".

The Nato official said the latest action was "a clear and very strong message that there was a cost to Russia's reckless actions" in poisoning the agent earlier this month.

US officials announced that 48 "intelligence officers" attached to Russian diplomatic missions in the United States would be expelled, along with 12 accredited to the United Nations in NY. Moscow has fiercely denied the charge and has pointed the finger at British intelligence. "We'll respond, have no doubt".

As UNIAN reported earlier, European Union member states, the USA, as well as Ukraine announced plans on Monday to expel more than 100 Russian diplomats in retaliation for the attack.

"Russia has the potential to be a partner with Europe".

Before the USA expulsion, Britain ordered almost two dozen Russian diplomats to leave.

In an unprecedented act of coordination, at least 25 countries have echoed Britain's action in response to the March 4 attack on former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter in the English city of Salisbury. Germany, France, and Poland each expelled four; the Czech Republic and Lithuania each expelled three; Spain, the Netherlands, Denmark, and Italy each expelled two; and Hungary, Sweden, Croatia, Romania, Finland, Latvia, and Estonia announced plans to expel one Russian diplomat each.

"I welcome the global support that we have garnered", she said.

On Monday, European Council President Donald Tusk announced in Varna, Bulgaria, that 14 European Union (EU) member states had made a decision to expel Russian diplomats in response to the poisoning of a former Russian spy and his daughter in Britain.

"We will continue to work for a meaningful political dialogue with Russian Federation", said Stoltenberg.

  • Tracy Klein