Published: Tue, March 27, 2018
World News | By Laverne Osborne

RIA: Moscow to Respond Appropriately to US Expulsion of Russian Envoys

RIA: Moscow to Respond Appropriately to US Expulsion of Russian Envoys

VOA diplomatic correspondent Cindy Saine has more from the State Department.

United States and Canada too joined the European states and ordered the removal of Russian embassy and intelligence staff in the wake of the allegation by the UK that Russia was behind an attack using a deadly nerve-agent in Salisbury on March 4, which left Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, hospitalized in critical condition.

The United States said on Monday it would expel 60 Russian diplomats, joining governments across Europe in punishing the Kremlin for a nerve agent attack on a former Russian spy in Britain that they have blamed on Moscow.

It warned that there would be a tit-for-tat response to those countries "pandering to British authorities" without, Moscow claims, fully understanding what had happened.

A Russian embassy spokesman in London said the "hostile step" of expelling the diplomats from various countries "was not unexpected".

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"It is astonishing how easily the allies of Great Britain follow it blindly contrary to the norms of civilised bilateral dialogue and global relations, and against ... common sense". Foreign Minister Simon Coveney called the nerve-agent attack on Skripal and his daughter a "shocking and abhorrent" use of chemical weapons.

This represents the largest U.S. expulsion of Russian or Soviet agents ever and comes after Trump's predecessor Barack Obama expelled 35 in late 2016 over alleged election meddling.

It is part of a co-ordinated global response to the nerve agent attack on ex-Soviet double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia earlier this month.

Speaking at a conference in Uzbekistan, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told reporters that a reaction will follow because Russia "will not tolerate such rude behavior".

Hua responded to the decision of the U.S. and over 20 other countries to expel nearly 100 Russian diplomats in their territories in support of the United Kingdom, which did the same last week with 23 Russian officials in retaliation for the alleged poisoning of former spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter in Salisbury, Xinhua news agency reported.

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