16:18 GMT18 April 2021
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    Expulsion of Russian Diplomats Over Skripal Case (109)

    Numerous western states announced diplomatic sanctions against Russia today, collectively expelling over 100 diplomats. Russia has vowed to retaliate with tit-for-tat measures against the sanctioning countries, as it did with the UK earlier this month.

    UK Prime Minister Theresa May welcomes the decision by several European and North American nations to impose diplomatic sanctions against Russia, her spokesperson told Sputnik on Monday.

    “We welcome the actions by our allies clearly demonstrating that we stand shoulder-to-shoulder in sending strongest signal to Russia that it cannot continue to flout international law,” the spokesperson quoted PM May as saying.

    The British prime minister went on with a tough statement, saying that if Russia wanted to divide Western nations, it had spectacularly failed.

    Speaking about the current condition of Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia, May specified that both of them remain in critical condition, what is unlikely to change in the nearest future. She has also outlined the possibility that Skripals might not recover at all.

    Commenting on the country's accusations against Russia, the Prime minister mentioned that London has some information on alleged Moscow's stockpiling Novichok-class agents for assassinations.

    "We have information indicating that within the last decade Russia has investigated ways of delivering nerve agents probably for assassination and as part of this program has produced and stockpiled small quantities of Novichoks," May told the parliament.

    Theresa May defined that 130 people could have been exposed to the same military-grade nerve agent allegedly used for Skripal's poisoning.

    "We assess that more than 130 people in Salisbury could have been potentially exposed to this nerve agent," May stated.

    UK Joint Actions With EU

    PM May also said the EU has agreed to take action to counter any threats posed by chemical, biological and cyber attacks. Additionally, she said that 18 countries have announced the plan to expel Russian intelligence officers.

    Meanwhile, British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson described the diplomatic sanctions announced today by many of the UK's allies an "extraordinary international response."

    He added that the ongoing expulsion of Russian intelligence officers by the west is the largest ever international dismissal of Russian spies. 

    "Today's extraordinary international response by our allies stands in history as the largest collective expulsion of Russian intelligence officers ever and will help defend our shared security. Russia cannot break international rules with impunity," FM Johnson said via his official Twitter account this afternoon. 

    Over a dozen EU member states — including Germany, France, Denmark and Italy — announced diplomatic sanctions against the Russian Federation on Monday in response to the poisoning of ex-spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter in Salisbury on March 4.

    Russia has staunchly denied any wrongdoing and has repeatedly called for a joint investigation with the UK to determine the source of the nerve agent used in the attack.

    President of the European Council Donald Tusk warned that further sanctions "within the common EU framework" may be imposed over the coming days. 

    The US and Canada also announced their own measures, with Washington opting to expel 60 Russian diplomats from their posts and close down the Russian Consulate in Seattle. 

    Russia's foreign ministry has vowed to retaliate with a "mirror-like response" in the coming days.

    Shortly after British PM Theresa May expelled 23 Russian diplomats earlier this month, the Russian government announced its own tit-for-tat response, expelling 23 British diplomats from St. Petersburg. 

    READ MORE: Russian MoD Says A234 Nerve Agent Allegedly Used Against Skripal Developed in US 

    Expulsion of Russian Diplomats Over Skripal Case (109)


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    Poisoning of Sergei Skripal, Russian Foreign Ministry, European Union, Boris Johnson, Germany, Europe, US, United Kingdom
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