NATO Expels Seven Russian Diplomats Over UK Spy Poisoning


Nato's boss Jens Stoltenberg said it would expel seven Russian diplomats, and would deny accreditation to another three as part of the push for the global community to punish Putin for the spy poisoning. "I will also deny the pending accreditation request for three others", Stoltenberg told a news conference at North Atlantic Treaty Organisation headquarters in Brussels.

All in all, on Monday, about 100 Russian diplomats were expelled from 16 European countries, as well as US, Canada and Australia.

US General Jim "Mad Dog" Mattis has delivered a strong message to Moscow over the poisoning of ex-Russian intelligence officer Sergei Skripal and his daughter. "This will bring the maximum size down to twenty", Stoltenberg said.

This follows the USA and dozens of other Western nations announcing expulsions of Russian diplomats, mostly on Monday. Numerous countries to follow suit on Monday said they did so out of solidarity with the British government. "No one wants to put up with such loutish behaviour and we won't", Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on the sidelines of a conference in Uzbekistan.

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Skripal, who was freed from Russian custody in 2010 in a "spy swap" with the USA, was found almost comatose on a bench, as was his daughter Yulia.

"We know for certain that this is a result of colossal pressure and colossal blackmail, which is Washington's chief instrument in the worldwide scene", said Lavrov.

Washington's expulsions represented the largest ever of Russian or Soviet agents and came after US President Donald Trump's predecessor Barack Obama expelled 35 in late 2016 over alleged election meddling.

British officials say Russian Federation has sought to divert attention by putting out more than a dozen explanations for the attack, the first using a nerve agent in Europe since World War II. Moscow has promised retaliation for the diplomatic expulsions.