NATO joined in several other nations in expelling Russian diplomats in response to the assassination that took place in Britain. Russian representatives continue to deny their involvement and blame the U.S.
Elsewhere around the world. Moscow continues to deny involvement in a nerve agent attack on one of its former spies, but it seems the rest of the world is not convinced. NATO is the latest to join in other nations in expelling Russian diplomats in response to the assassination that took place in Britain. Ro Aram has the full story.
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg announced Tuesday that the alliance will expel seven staff from the Russian mission. It will also deny pending accreditation requests for three others. The move will reduce the size of Russian mission by a third from 30 to 20. Stoltenberg said the decision would send a strong message to Moscow.
“This sends a clear message to Russia that there are costs and consequences for its unacceptable and dangerous pattern of behavior. And it follows Russia's lack of constructive response to what happened in Salisbury”.
NATO made a similar move three years ago in response to the Russian annexation of Crimea, in which it cut the number of Russian staff by half. Tuesday's move comes just a day after more than two dozen countries expelled more than a hundred Russian diplomats in a coordinated move over the nerve agent attack in Salisbury against Sergei Skripal and his daughter – which Moscow denies any involvment.
Russia has lashed out at the mass expulsion, with Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov placing the blame on the U.S. “We know that this is the result of colossal pressure, colossal blackmail which is now unfortunately the main tool of Washington on the international arena”.
Russia's Foreign Ministry is reported to be drawing up retaliatory measures for President Vladimir Putin to consider. They would likely include tit-for-tat expulsions of foreign diplomats in Russia.