US, Canada, EU expel Russian envoys over spy attack

Following an attack on an ex-spy in the English city of Salisbury, the US, Canada and 14 EU states are expelling Russian diplomats from their countries and Russia has vowed to react to the “provocative” expulsion of its diplomats.

Senior US administration officials said that 48 “known intelligence officers” at the Russian consulate in Seattle and 12 more at the Russian mission to the UN have seven days to leave the country. President Donald Trumps has also called for the closure of Russian consulate in Seattle.

Canada announced on Monday afternoon that it would also expel four Russian envoys.

Across the pond in Europe, Germany has expelled four Russian diplomats, Poland and Lithuania will be giving their combined seven diplomats until April 3 to leave the countries.

“After the Salisbury poisoning, Russia has still not helped clarify the situation. We did not take this decision lightly,” Germany’s foreign minister Heiko Maas said on Twitter.

Ukraine has also expelled 13 Russian delegates, France has expelled four and Denmark, the only Nordic country to be both a member of NATO and the EU, has expelled two.

The move came after British Prime Minister Theresa May addressed fellow European Union leaders at a summit in Brussels to urge them to support Britain’s assessment that Russia was to blame.

The 28 EU states issued a statement saying they agreed it was highly likely Russia was responsible for the poisoning of Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia on March 4, and ordered the recall of the bloc’s ambassador to Moscow.

Skripal, a former Russian officer who sold secrets to Britain and moved there in a 2010 spy swap, remains in critical condition along with his daughter, Yulia, after they were found unconscious on a park bench in the sleepy town of Salisbury.

Britain has said a military-grade nerve agent was used to poison them.

This is a developing story.

© Agence France-Presse

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