24 countries kick out Russian diplomats over spy case

Dozens of Russian diplomats around the world are being expelled in response to poisoning of former spy in UK
BRUSSELS: Several countries are expelling Russian diplomats as part of an orchestrated response to the poisoning of an ex-Russian spy and his daughter in the U.K.
Countries convinced that Russia is behind the poisoning of ex-Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in the U.K. have expelled dozens of Russian diplomats in a coordinated reaction which began on Monday.
Sergei Skripal, 66, and his daughter Yulia, 33, were admitted to a hospital after being found unconscious in the southern English city of Salisbury on March 4.
According to information gathered by Anadolu Agency, a total of 24 countries have expelled 139 Russian diplomats. These numbers are expected to increase in the coming days.
The worldwide expulsion of Russian diplomats followed that of 23 from the U.K. on March 14.
– First expulsions came from USA, Canada
The U.S. expelled 60 diplomats — 48 from Washington, 12 from the UN — Washington said were working as intelligence officers, and ordered the closure of Moscow’s consulate in Seattle.
The U.S. granted the Russian diplomats seven days to leave the country.
Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland said four diplomatic staff at the Russian embassy in the Canadian capital of Ottawa or the consulate general in Montreal will be ordered out of the country.
– Reactions from 16 EU countries
President of the European Council Donald Tusk said in a news conference on Monday that the EU generally agreed with the United Kingdom government’s assessment that “it is highly likely that the Russian Federation is responsible and that there is no plausible alternative explanation”.
In total, 16 EU countries have expelled Russian diplomats.
The countries that are to expel Russian diplomats along with the numbers are as follows: France (4), Germany (4), Poland (4), Czech Republic (3), Lithuania (3), Denmark (2), Italy (2), the Netherlands (2), Spain (2), Croatia (1), Romania (1), Estonia (1), Finland (1), Hungary (1), Latvia (1) and Sweden (1).
Austria, Greece, the Greek Cypriot administration and Portugal announced that they would not consider taking such measures against Russia at this stage. Belgium and Ireland have indicated they would announce actions to be taken.
The European countries that are non-EU member states are as follows: Ukraine (13), Albania (2), Macedonia (1) and Norway (1).
– Australia and New Zealand
Australia also joined the the coordinated movement to expel Russian diplomats by asking two to leave the country within seven days.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said New Zealand — one of the U.K.’s close allies — had wanted to show solidarity with London but could not find a Russian diplomat to expel.
– FIFA World Cup boycott
Additionally several countries announced they would hold a diplomatic boycott of the FIFA World Cup to be held in Russia this summer.
Iceland supported the U.K. and its Western allies in a statement, introducing a diplomatic boycott of the FIFA World Cup in Russia. While Iceland and Poland openly announced a diplomatic boycott, Australia, Denmark, Sweden and Japan said that they would consider such a move.
On March 4, Skripal, 66, and his daughter Yulia, 33, were admitted to a hospital after being found unconscious in the southern English city of Salisbury. British officials have placed the blame squarely on Russia, a charge President Vladimir Putin adamantly denies.
London has said the attack was carried out using a Soviet-era Cold War nerve agent from a family called Novichok.
Skripal was granted refuge in the U.K. following a 2010 spy exchange between the U.S. and Russia. Before the exchange, he was serving 13 years in prison for leaking information to British intelligence.–AA

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.