In a coordinated move, 15 European countries have announced their intention to expel varying numbers of Russian diplomats in response to the poisoning of a former Russian spy in the UK.
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Following US President Donald Trump’s announcement on Monday that 60 Russian diplomats will be expelled from the country over the poisoning of a former spy in the UK, 15 European countries made similar announcements in a coordinated move.
These countries are France, Denmark, Germany, Sweden, Italy, Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, the Czech Republic, Estonia, the Netherlands, Romania, Finland, Croatia and Ukraine.
“France will be expelling four Russian diplomats in response to its aggression,” said a senior official in the French government. Donald Tusk, the president of the European Council, said more steps are yet to come, “including additional sanctions.”
In response to Trump’s announcement, a Russian parliamentarian said Russia will also be expelling at least 60 American diplomats and reiterated that Russia was not involved the poisoning of Sergei Skripal.
“The US is destroying whatever is left of its relations with Russia,” Russian Ambassador to the US Anatoly Antonov said. “These steps will only escalate the situation and we will react accordingly.”
UK Prime Minister Theresa May said the announcements of its allies “clearly demonstrate that we all stand shoulder to shoulder in sending the strongest signal to Russia that it cannot continue to flout international law.”