Monday, 26 March 2018

America and 17 EU States Expel Putin Agents In Wake Of Salisbury Poisoning In 'Largest Collective Expulsion of Russian Spies Ever'

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Russian diplomats were expelled from 14 EU states today in an unprecedented show of defiance to the Kremlin over the Salisbury attack. EU Council President Donald Tusk revealed the coordinated action at a press conference in Bulgaria today. 

The United States is also expelling 60 Russian diplomats over the attempted assassination of Sergei Skripal as Moscow is frozen out of the international community. The dozens of expulsions from EU states underline Theresa May's diplomatic coup at last week's Brussels summit where she scrambled to line up Britain's allies. Prime Minister Theresa May (pictured in Maidenhead with husband Philip yesterday) will update MPs on her diplomatic coup later today, following last week's EU summit at which she won strong support for her response

Moscow's revenge: President Vladimir Putin will have a 'final say' on how Russia responds to the expulsion of diplomats from 14 EU states as well as the US announced on Monday

The United States is expelling 60 Russians, including 12 intelligence officers from Russia's mission to U.N. headquarters in New York. Canada followed suit by expelling three Kremlin staffers.

Russia's ambassador to the U.S. said the move had 'ruined what is left of Russian-U.S. ties,' threatening Washington by saying they will bear responsibility for the consequences.  

Germany, France and Poland each expelled four diplomats, with Lithuania, Latvia and the Czech Republic also taking action. Ukraine - not an EU state - joined the European revolt by expelling 13 diplomats.
Open the gates:  The US is expelling 60 Russians, including 12 intelligence officers from Russia's mission to U.N. headquarters in New York. Pictured is the embassy in Washington DC
Open the gates:  The US is expelling 60 Russians, including 12 intelligence officers from Russia's mission to U.N. headquarters in New York. Pictured is the embassy in Washington DC

The Kremlin says Russia will likely respond quid pro quo to the expulsions, with President Vladimir Putin's spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, saying in remarks carried by Russian news agencies that Moscow will proceed from the "principle of reciprocity" while mulling over its response to the decisions made by Washington and EU countries.

Peskov said that the Foreign Ministry will analyze the situation and present a proposal to Putin, who will make the ultimate decision on how to respond.  
Reply: Russia's Embassy in Washington responded to the decisions on Twitter by hinting at retaliation, asking its followers to vote which U.S. consulate should be shuttered: St. Petersburg, Yekaterinburg or Vladivostok
Britain led the way in the aftermath of the March 4 attack by expelling 23 Russian diplomats from London. The Kremlin kicked out 23 Britons as a reprisal.  

In a statement to the House of Commons, The Prime Minister said 18 countries had united today to expel more than 100 diplomats in solidarity with Britain.

The Prime Minister echoed the Foreign Secretary when she told MPs this was the 'largest collective expulsion of Russian intelligence in our history'.
Mr Tusk took to Twitter to underline the coordinated nature of the reaction to the Salisbury attack following Mrs May's diplomatic efforts 
Welcoming the 'great solidarity' from Britain's allies, Mrs May said the action proved the international community would no longer 'tolerate' Russian interference.  

She said: 'Together we have sent a message that we will not tolerate Russia's continued attempts to flout international law and undermine our values.'

She added: 'President Putin's regime is carrying out acts of aggression against our shared values and interests within our continent and beyond.

'As a sovereign European democracy, the United Kingdom will stand shoulder to shoulder with the EU and with Nato to face down these threats together.'

Announcing the EU's coordinated action earlier today, President of the European Council Donald Tusk said: 'Last week the European council condemned in the strongest possible terms the recent attack on Salisbury.
Au revoir: This image shows the Russian Embassy in Paris, France, from where four diplomats have been ejected today 
'The European Council agreed with the UK government assessment that its highly likely the Russian federation is responsible and there is no plausible alternative explanation.

'And we decided to recall the EU ambassador to Russia for consultation. As a direct follow up to last week's European council decision to react to Russia within a commons framework already today 14 member states have decided to expel Russian diplomats. 

'Additional measures including further expulsions within the EU framework, are not to be excluded in the coming days and weeks.

'We remain critical of the actions of the Russian government.' 
Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson hailed the 'largest collective expulsion' in history and said it would help defend our 'shared security'

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