North Atlantic Treaty Organisation expels seven Russian staff in solidarity with United Kingdom over Salisbury attack

Delhi regards forthcoming transition of Ukrainian defense industry to NATO standards as factor increasing reliability of Ukrainian weapons
North Atlantic Treaty Organisation expels seven Russian staff in solidarity with United Kingdom over Salisbury attack
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28 March, 2018

Earlier in the day, Mattis stated that the decision of North Atlantic Treaty Organisation to withdraw accreditation of seven members of the Russian mission was a statement to those who doubted the unity of the alliance.

The Russian foreign ministry said: "This provocative gesture of notorious solidarity with London, made by countries that preferred to follow in London's footsteps without bothering to look into other circumstances of the incident, merely continues the policy of escalating the confrontation".

The coordinated action among Western allies is seen as a huge diplomatic coup for May whose country is preparing to exit the European Union bloc and may have had doubts about how much support she could count on.

Commenting on the move, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov noted that anti-Russian measures introduced over Skripal case demonstrate how few independent countries remain in the modern world.

The attack on the 66-year-old Skripal and Yulia Skripal, his 33-year-old daughter, took place in the English cathedral city of Salisbury where he had been living since being swapped in a spy exchange deal in 2010.

Moscow has fiercely denied any involvement in his attempted murder, instead pointing the finger at London.

On Tuesday, Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said his country was expelling two Russian diplomats whom he described as undeclared intelligence officers.

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Downing Street saying that more than 115 Russian diplomats had been ordered home by friends and allies, Dublin added one more to the list.

"Yesterday was a significant moment in our response to this reckless act of aggression, but there is still more to be done as we work with worldwide partners on a long-term response to the challenge posed by Russian Federation", her spokesman said, reporting remarks made by May at a cabinet meeting.

Asked on Monday about a report that the US would also expel Russian diplomats, presidential spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said that Russia will act according to the principle of reciprocity.

Johnson also accused Russian Federation of seeking to avoid pressure by putting out a variety of explanations for what Western officials say was the first offensive use of a chemical weapon in Europe since World War II.

"There was a time when this tactic of sowing doubt might have been effective, but no one is fooled any more", Johnson wrote, adding that the expulsions were "a moment when the cynicism of the propaganda machine was exposed for all to see".

It is also closing the Russian consulate in Seattle.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov blamed the USA for strong-arming its allies to expel Russian diplomats.


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