The United States and their European allies are expelling Russian diplomats in response to the poisoning of the former Russian spy, Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia.
Over 20 countries are aligned with the UK to expel more than a total of 100 diplomats. The movement is the largest collective expulsion in history of Russian intelligence officers. Russia denies that they had any involvement with the attack on the two in Southern England earlier this year. Both Sergei and his daughter Yulia remain in a critical condition in hospital but are stable.
The leaders of the EU were in agreement last week that Russia was most likely behind the attacks. An official stated that President Putin was carrying out acts of aggression that go against the shared interests and values of the people of the continent.
This poison attack is developing into one of the most serious diplomatic crises with Russia and the Western world since Crimea was seized by Moscow. Regardless of Russia’s denial, the allies of Britain have accepted their view that the nerve agent attack was most likely conducted by the state of Russia.
UK and EU relations have been strained since he Brexit negotiation but the collective expulsions is an extraordinary sign of solidarity of US and EU members with Britain.
Earlier this month the UK announced that they would be expelling 23 Russian diplomats. The other countries that are also following suit are;
- Australia – 2 Diplomats
- The United States – 60
- Ukraine – 13
- Canada – 4 plus the rejection of any other further applications
- Albania – 2
- Norway – 1
- Macedonia – 1
- EU Countries – 33 combined
Additionally Iceland also announced that they would be suspending dialogue with the Russian authorities and that their leaders will not be attending the Football World Cup that commences in Russia in June.
The UK said that they would not be sending any members of the royal family or ministers to the World Cup either.
The EU countries that have expressed no interest in expelling the diplomats are Greece, Portugal and Austria. While they haven’t gone as far as expulsion, the three countries have said that they support the UK’s efforts for condemning the attack.
President of the European Council, Donald Tusk, stated that the states of the EU had decided that the expulsion of the Russian diplomats is the appropriate retaliation for the poisoning that happened in Salisbury.
He also said that additional measures such as the expulsion from the EU framework itself aren’t ruled out and could be a reality within the coming days and weeks.