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North Atlantic Treaty Organisation cuts Russian Federation diplomatic mission amidst spy poisoning row

North Atlantic Treaty Organisation cuts Russian Federation diplomatic mission amidst spy poisoning row”

North Atlantic Treaty Organisation will cut the staff of Russia's permanent mission at its headquarters from 30 to 20 people.

"This is the result of colossal pressure, colossal blackmail which is the main instrument of Washington on the global arena", Lavrov said during a visit to Uzbekistan.

British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said the mass expulsions were "a blow from which Russian intelligence will need many years to recover".

US officials announced that 48 "intelligence officers" attached to Russian diplomatic missions in the United States would be expelled, along with 12 accredited to the United Nations in NY. Moscow, though, has repeatedly denied involvement.

"We'll respond, have no doubt!"

In recent days more than 115 Russian diplomats have also been expelled across the globe in a diplomatic backlash against the Kremlin following the attack earlier this month.

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.

A removal van was seen outside the Russian embassy in London on Tuesday, as Moscow is awaiting almost two dozen Russian diplomats ordered to leave Britain as part of a standoff over a nerve agent attack on British soil.

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Governments of 24 countries around the world have expelled more than 100 Russian diplomats over the poisoning of the Skripals, an unprecedented worldwide response to the first offensive use of a nerve agent in Europe since World War II. Germany, France, and Poland each expelled four; the Czech Republic and Lithuania each expelled three; Spain, the Netherlands, Denmark, and Italy each expelled two; and Hungary, Sweden, Croatia, Romania, Finland, Latvia, and Estonia announced plans to expel one Russian diplomat each.

This has been done so far by several other European countries that are not members of the EU: Ukraine (13), Norway (one), Albania (two) and Macedonia (one).

Skripal was granted refuge in the United Kingdom following a 2010 spy exchange between the US and Russian Federation.

"Today's actions by our allies clearly demonstrate that we all stand shoulder to shoulder in sending the strongest signal to the Kremlin that Russian Federation can not continue to flout worldwide law and threaten our security".

"I welcome the global support that we have garnered", she said.

Britain has emphasized that the attack took place in the context of "reckless behavior" by Russian President Vladimir Putin, including the annexation of Crimea.

Ryabkov said the USA move "will be met with a tough response" but he did not elaborate.



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