USA expels 60 Russians as allies back Britain in spy row

27 March, 2018, 19:04 | Author: Jason Torres
  • Expulsion of Russian diplomats: Be ready for consequences, thunders Moscow

This represents the largest USA expulsion of Russian or Soviet agents ever and comes after Trump's predecessor Barack Obama expelled 35 in late 2016 over alleged election meddling.

On Monday, according to media reports, more than a dozen Western nations announced they will expel Russian diplomats in solidarity with the United Kingdom over the poisoning of a former Russian spy.

Russia's ambassador warns the expulsions were a grave mistake and that Russian Federation will retaliate. Moscow vehemently denies responsibility, and has vowed a "tough response" to the expulsions.

The Russian embassy in Albania, where the government made a decision to expel two Russian diplomats, did not comment on the situation, but republished the statement issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Moscow.

Faced with a barrage of questions from journalists, the Russian embassy in Bucharest issued a very short statement, labelling Romania's decision to declare a Russian diplomat persona non grata "an expression of madness".

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Britain has already expelled 23 Russian diplomats, with Moscow retaliating with a tit-for-tat move. Russia's foreign ministry warned that the "unfriendly step by this group of countries will not pass without trace and we will respond to it".

Australia expelled two Russian diplomats Tuesday in response to the "shocking" Skripal attack, which Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said was part of "a pattern of reckless and deliberate conduct by the Russian state that constitutes a growing threat to worldwide security". "What US Consulate General would you close in @Russia, if it was up to you to decide" tweeted the embassy Monday.

On Monday, the USA, the EU, Canada and Ukraine ordered the expulsion of dozens of Russian diplomats. "If we did, we would expel them", Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern told state radio.

The mass expulsions were a show of solidarity for Britain, which blames Russian Federation for the poisoning of former double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia.

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull described the attack as "shocking", while Danish counterpart Lars Lokke Rasmussen said it was "completely unacceptable".

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