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'Strong signal to Kremlin' as North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and 26 countries expel Russian diplomats

28 March 2018

"This sends a clear message to Russian Federation that there are costs and consequences for its unacceptable and risky pattern of behavior", he said.

The mass expulsions were a show of solidarity for Britain, which blames Russian Federation for the poisoning of ex-spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia.

North Atlantic Treaty Organisation moved on Tuesday to expel seven Russian officials from the country's mission to the organization, the latest act of reprisal against Moscow for the poisoning of an ex-Russian spy.

Earlier, in response to Skripal case, the US President Donald Trump ordered the removal of 60 Russian diplomats, which is the largest explusion in the history of the US-Russia ties.

"It appears Moscow misjudged the strong global condemnation to its attempt to murder a former Russian intelligence officer and his daughter", wrote the Soufan Group security firm Tuesday.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov today accused Washington of applying "colossal pressure" to achieve the massive, coordinated global response to the poisoning.

Skripal's poisoning, which Britain says was caused by use of the Soviet-era military-grade nerve agent Novichok, is the first known offensive use of a nerve toxin in Europe since World War Two.

Russian Federation has denied any involvement.

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British Prime Minister Theresa May on Tuesday told UK Parliament that 23 countries had expelled more than 115 Russian intelligence diplomats, which "represents an unprecedented series of expulsions that demonstrates to the Kremlin that we will not tolerate their attempts to flout worldwide law, undermine our values or threaten our security".

"The attack in Salisbury was not just an attack against the United Kingdom but an affront to the global rules-based system on which we all depend for our security and wellbeing", Ireland's Foreign Ministry said.

Numerous countries to follow suit on Monday said they did so out of solidarity with the British government.

It responded to Britain's expulsions with its own, and the closure of the British Council cultural organisation - and on Tuesday promised it would hit back against the coordinated moves.

Western officials made it clear in announcing the expulsions that they share Britain's assessment that only the Russian state could have been behind the incident.

"There was a time when this tactic of sowing doubt might have been effective, but no one is fooled any more", Johnson wrote, adding that the expulsions were "a moment when the cynicism of the propaganda machine was exposed for all to see".

Russian Federation had already expelled 23 British diplomats after the United Kingdom expelled the same number over the poisoning.

The Russian embassy in Washington responded by asking its Twitter followers to vote on which United States consulate should be closed, listing those in Vladivostok, St Petersburg and Yekaterinburg as options.

'Strong signal to Kremlin' as North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and 26 countries expel Russian diplomats