European countries expel Russian diplomats over ex-spy’s poisoning
Several European countries – Germany, France, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Poland, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Romania, the Netherlands, and Ukraine, have announced a decision to expel Russian diplomats in the wake of the poisoning of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal in England.
The Polish authorities have made a decision to expel four Russian diplomats by April 4, Foreign Minister Jacek Czaputowicz told a news conference on Monday. “Poland has made a decision to declare four Russian diplomats as personae non-gratae,” he said
Germany’s authorities plan to expel four Russian diplomats, the country’s Foreign Ministry said. “We did not make the decision in a hurry,” German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said on Twitter, noting that Moscow was not providing assistance to the investigation.
Estonia will expel one Russian diplomat, namely a military attache of the Russian Embassy in Tallinn, Foreign Minister Sven Mikser told reporters. The move comes over “inappropriate activity for a diplomat.”
The Czech Republic has ordered three Russian diplomats to leave the country “in solidarity with the United Kingdom,” Prime Minister Andrej Babis said.
French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian announced that four Russian diplomats would be expelled in the wake of the Salisbury incident.
Italy will kick out two Russian diplomats from the Russian Embassy in Rome, the Foreign Ministry said.
Ukraine has ordered 13 Russian diplomats to leave the country, President Pyotr Poroshenko said.
Two Russians will be expelled from both the Netherlands and Denmark. Finland and Romania also followed suit, announcing the decision to expel one Russian diplomat from each country.
Reuters reported that Latvia’s authorities plan to kick out one Russian diplomat.
Lithuania plans to expel three Russian diplomats and declare 44 Russian citizens personae non gratae, the news agency reported citing the country’s Foreign Ministry.
Prime Minister of Croatia Andrej Plenkovic said his country will also expel one Russian diplomat.
The Swedish government said one Russian diplomat will be ordered to leave the country following the Salisbury incident.
President of the European Council Donald Tusk announced that 14 EU member-states have announced a decision to kick out Russian diplomats after last week’s summit.
Most countries have ordered the Russian diplomats to leave within seven days.
On March 4, former Russian intelligence officer and convicted British spy Sergei Skripal, and his daughter Yulia were allegedly poisoned with a nerve agent, according to British investigators. Later, London stated that this agent was designed in Russia and blamed Moscow for being behind the incident based on this assumption. The Russian side refuted all accusations, saying that neither the Soviet Union, nor Russia had any programs for developing this agent. London expelled 23 Russian diplomats without providing any evidence and stated that other anti-Russian measures would follow, after which Moscow took retaliatory measures by ejecting the same number of the British embassy staff members and ordering the closure of the UK’s consulate general in St. Petersburg and terminating the activity of the British Council in Russia.