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NATO Joins More Than 20 Countries In Expelling Russian Diplomats

29 March 2018

Britain shared "unprecedented levels" of intelligence about a spy poisoning it blamed on Moscow, which has led at least 25 countries to expel Russian diplomats, a senior United Kingdom government official said Tuesday.

The U.S. -led North Atlantic Treaty Organisation alliance followed suit announcing Tuesday it was expelling seven diplomats from Russia's mission at alliance headquarters in Brussels and blocking the appointment of three others, cutting the size of the mission to 20 people from 30.

Moldova, the ex-Soviet nation whose pro-Western government is seeking closer ties with the West, on Tuesday also ordered three Russian diplomats to leave the former Soviet republic within seven days.

In yet another victory for Theresa May's efforts to get the world to turn on Russian Federation, he said today: "This will send a clear message to Russian Federation that there are costs and consequences for their unacceptable pattern of behaviour".

NATO's announcement comes after a string of Western countries led by the US and European Union said this week they would expel more than 100 Russian diplomats in total, arguing that the attack could have only been carried out with Moscow's involvement.

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US General Jim "Mad Dog" Mattis has delivered a strong message to Moscow over the poisoning of ex-Russian intelligence officer Sergei Skripal and his daughter.

Lavrov also speculated that the United States might have coerced some of the European countries into expelling Russian diplomats.

President Trump spoke Tuesday with the leaders of France and Germany - which expelled four Russian diplomats each over the Skripal affair.

In the toughest action that President Donald Trump has taken against Russia since coming to office, the United States has said it will expel 60 Russians, including 12 intelligence officers from Russia's mission to the UN headquarters in NY.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Moscow regrets these moves of the Western countries, and Russia's diplomatic authorities will analyze the situation and propose response measures to President Vladimir Putin for his final decision.

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The Skripals were found slumped on a bench at a shopping center in Salisbury, in southern England, following the March 4 attack.

He said: "What triggered this was the Salisbury attack". Foreign Minister Simon Coveney called the nerve-agent attack on Skripal and his daughter a "shocking and abhorrent" use of chemical weapons.

Others expelling diplomats on Tuesday included Ireland.

Earlier on Tuesday, Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said Moscow was working on a "tough response" to the expulsions.

"It is astonishing how easily the allies of Great Britain follow it blindly contrary to the norms of civilised bilateral dialogue and worldwide relations, and against ... common sense", said the embassy.

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NATO Joins More Than 20 Countries In Expelling Russian Diplomats