Trump's National Security Council recommends expelling Russian diplomats

24 March, 2018, 14:13 | Author: Roderick Gutierrez

According to a source with knowledge of the discussions, it is believed that the USA was waiting to see what members of the European Council would do - and on Friday 10 European countries announced they would follow the United Kingdom's lead by also expelling Russian diplomats.

"I think this is a wholly artificial exercise which came and will pass".

In an indication of a possible escalation in the European Union response, French President Emmanuel Macron said France and Germany would be among the countries taking "co-ordinated measures" against Russian Federation, with an announcement due "very shortly".

Moscow has denied that it is behind the attack on Russian ex-spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter, the first known offensive use of a nerve toxin in Europe since World War II.

British Prime Minister Theresa May briefed other European Union leaders on the probe into the attack over a summit dinner on Thursday.

"Germany and France agree that additional steps, on top of the recall of the ambassador, are necessary", Merkel said at a joint news conference with French President Emmanuel Macron.

Great Britain expelled 23 Russian diplomats from the country as a reaction to the incident in Salisbury.

Leo Varadkar, the Irish prime minister, said: "We will now consider in the coming days whether we want to take individual action in relation to Russian diplomats in Ireland".


Britain's military research facility at Porton Down said it could not have been the source of the nerve agent that poisoned Russian ex-spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter in the city of Salisbury this month, the BBC reported on Friday.

"I think it is clear that Russian Federation is challenging the values we share as Europeans, and it is right that we are standing together in defence of those values", she said.

She said: "I welcome the fact that the EU Council has agreed with the United Kingdom Government's assessment that it is highly likely that Russian Federation was responsible for the attempted murder that took place on the streets of Salisbury and that there is no plausible alternative explanation".

The prime minister set out the evidence the United Kingdom has against Russian Federation - including the positive identification of the chemical used as a type of Novichok nerve agent and the knowledge that Russian Federation has produced this agent within the last 10 years. The police officer who was injured, Det Sgt Nick Bailey, is conscious and in a stable condition - but is no longer critical.

The president of Lithuania, Dalia Grybauskaitė, said that "from the beginning of next week, a lot of countries, we will go for our national measures". "We're not going to expel people randomly".

The leaders of former Soviet bloc European Union states the Czech Republic and Lithuania, as well as Denmark and Ireland, have also said they were considering further unilateral steps, including expelling diplomats.

A senior Russian diplomat has dismissed British accusations against Moscow over the poisoning of an ex-spy as "jabber".

She managed to overcome resistance from countries like Greece and Italy who were reluctant to put their close Kremlin ties in jeopardy to persuade them to back Britain's conclusion that Moscow was to blame. "We believe that the analyses are already very well-founded and this has not been questioned by anyone", Merkel said.

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