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Russian Federation expels 60 USA diplomats and takes other measures against the West

29 March 2018

Russia is retaliating against the US decision to expel Russian diplomats and shutter the Russian consulate in Seattle by closing the USA consulate in St. Petersburg and expelling diplomats, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov revealed Thursday.

In addition, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told local media that other nations that expelled Russians, as punishment for Moscow's alleged role in a nerve agent attack in the United Kingdom, would have an identical number of their diplomats ejected.

The U.S. other Western nations and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation are expelling more than 150 Russian diplomats whom they consider spies, including a dozen posted to Russia's U.N. mission, over the poisoning of a former Russian spy in England.

The ministry's spokeswoman, Maria Zakharova, said Thursday the Russian response will come "in the nearest time".

The country's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Thusday that his nation would respond "in kind" to sanctions imposed following the attack on Sergei Skripal, 66, ad his daughter Yulia, 33.

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U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres says the world is approaching a situation "similar" to the Cold War as tensions rise between the United States and Russian Federation.

The minster specified that 58 diplomatic employers will be removed from the U.S. embassy in Moscow and two staff will have to leave the General Consulate in Ekaterinburg by April 5. "They include expulsion of the equivalent number of diplomats and they include our decision to withdraw our agreement to allow the United States' general consulate to operate in St. Petersburg", Lavrov told a briefing.

Shortly afterwards, the Russian foreign ministry declared 58 USA diplomats in Moscow and two in the city of Yekaterinburg to be "persona non grata", the Interfax news agency reported.

The OPCW has said it will hand its findings over to Britain, TASS reported Thursday.

Two dozen countries, including the USA, many European Union nations and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, have ordered more than 150 Russian diplomats out this week in a show of solidarity with Britain.

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British health officials say the daughter of a Russian ex-spy has responded well to treatment and is no longer in critical condition after a nerve-agent attack.

Her father Sergei remains in a critical but stable condition. Moscow denies involvement in the attack, which has sparked a diplomatic crisis between Russian Federation and the West.

More than 20 other countries, primarily European, also announced expulsions on Monday, and a few more joined in on Tuesday, as did North Atlantic Treaty Organisation headquarters in Brussels.

She said Russian Federation continued to demand access to investigation materials, which Britain has refused to share.

Meanwhile, foreign secretary Boris Johnson said the nerve agent attack in Salisbury has crystallised a "global wave of revulsion" against Russian Federation.

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The Czech Republic, along with Lithuania, declared three Russian diplomats person Non- Grata. The Ukrainian authorities announced the expulsion of 13 Russian diplomats.

Russian Federation expels 60 USA diplomats and takes other measures against the West