20 countries pledge to kick out Russian diplomats over ex-spy’s poisoning
iStock/Thinkstock(LONDON) — Canada and a slew of European countries on Monday vowed to kick out Russian diplomats in response to the poisoning of a former Russian spy in England, just as the United States announced it was responding by expelling 60 Russian intelligence officers.
The United Kingdom earlier this month sent home 23 Russian diplomats — after saying Russia was behind the poisoning of former spy Sergei Skripal in Salisbury, England — and the following countries said Monday they, too, are expelling Russian diplomats – over 100 total:
U.S.: 60 diplomats (and it said it would close Russia’s consulate in Seattle)
Ukraine: 13 diplomats
France: 4 diplomats
Germany: 4 diplomats
Canada: 4 diplomats (and it said three others’ applications to serve in Canada)
Poland: 4 diplomats
Lithuania: 3 diplomats
Czech Republic: 3 diplomats
Netherlands: 2 diplomats
Italy: 2 diplomats
Denmark: 2 diplomats
Spain: 2 diplomats
Estonia: 1 diplomat
Latvia: 1 diplomat
Romania: 1 diplomat
Finland: 1 diplomat
Croatia: 1 diplomat
Hungary: 1 diplomat
Sweden: 1 diplomat
Norway: 1 diplomat
The president of the European Community, Donald Tusk, suggested there could be more measures to come.
Russia’s foreign ministry issued a statement on Monday protesting the U.S. and European expulsions of Russian diplomats, calling it a “provocative step” and warning that Russia will respond. It did not say explicitly how it would act, but after the U.K. kicked out 23 Russians this month, Russia expelled 23 British diplomats.
Skripal and his daughter, Yulia Skripal, were found slumped over, unconscious on a park bench in the southern English town of Salisbury. The U.K. has accused Russia of bearing responsibility for the March 4 attack, which British officials say involved a military-grade nerve agent of a type developed secretly by Russia — an assessment shared by the United States.
Russia has denied any involvement.
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