US joins Russian diplomat expulsions over UK nerve attack

The United States has joined the UK and a number of other countries in announcing the expulsion 60 diplomats in response to the nerve gas attack in Salisbury, England.

Reuters: US and EU to expel more than 100 Russian diplomats over UK nerve attack

The United States said on Monday it would expel 60 Russian diplomats, joining governments across Europe in punishing the Kremlin for a nerve agent attack on a former Russian spy in Britain that they have blamed on Moscow.

The staff expelled by the United States included 12 intelligence officers from Russia’s mission to the United Nations headquarters in New York, a senior administration official told reporters. Trump also ordered the closure of the Russian consulate in Seattle.

To the Russian government we say: when you attack our friends, you will face serious consequences,” one of the U.S. officials briefing reporters said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

It was the strongest action that U.S. President Donald Trump had taken against Russia since coming to office. He has been criticized by Democrats and members of his own Republican Party for failing to be tough enough on Russia over allegations of Russian meddling in the U.S. electoral system including the 2016 presidential campaign.

British Prime Minister Theresa May, welcoming the show of solidarity, said 18 countries had announced plans to expel Russian officials. Those included 14 European Union countries, as well as Ukraine, Canada and Albania. In total, Monday’s announcements affected more than 100 Russian diplomats – the biggest Western expulsion of Russian diplomats since the height of the Cold War.

May said the coordinated measures “clearly demonstrate that we all stand shoulder to shoulder in sending the strongest signal to Russia that it cannot continue to flout international law”.

Russia’s Foreign Ministry called the actions a “provocative gesture”. The Kremlin spokesman said the West’s response was a “mistake” and that Russian President Vladimir Putin would make a final decision about Russia’s response.

Russia said it would respond in kind.

“The response will be symmetrical. We will work on it in the coming days and will respond to every country in turn,” the RIA news agency cited an unnamed Foreign Ministry source as saying.

Monday’s wave of expulsions came after EU leaders said last week that evidence presented by May of Russian involvement in the attack was a solid basis for further action.

European Council President Donald Tusk said further measures could be taken in the coming weeks and months. Mexico said it reserved the right to expel diplomats.

The EU has also recalled a diplomat from Russia.

BBC: Spy poisoning: Russian diplomats expelled across US and Europe

The United States and its European allies are expelling dozens of Russian diplomats in a co-ordinated response to the poisoning of a former Russian spy in the UK.

It is said to be the largest collective expulsion of Russian intelligence officers in history.

Twenty-one countries have aligned with the UK, expelling more than 100 diplomats.

Mrs May said: “President Putin’s regime is carrying out acts of aggression against our shared values and interests within our continent and beyond.

“And as a sovereign European democracy, the United Kingdom will stand shoulder to shoulder with the EU and with Nato to face down these threats together.”

BBC: Russian spy: What we know so far

15 Comments

  1. Corky

     /  March 27, 2018

    This situation is a warning to those who believe we don’t need guns for protection because our societies are stable. Well, a protracted war with Russia would have our stability severely compromised. I doubt generation XYand Z would take kindly to limited internet, fashion and food rations. In fact they would probably go mad.

    • lurcher1948

       /  March 27, 2018

      And they will need coats and torches to cope with the nuclear winter…

  2. lurcher1948

     /  March 27, 2018

    Thank god New Zealand is an independent country, proud of you PM
    PS if we have to jump through hoops for our “friends” to get a FTA, let’s see what the other side has to offer.

    • Gezza

       /  March 27, 2018

      Fair enuf maybe but let’s not grant refugee status or residence to any Russian or Chinese spies, former spies, or Security Service personnel. Just in case we have this problem too.

  3. Missy

     /  March 27, 2018

    Australia has become the latest country to expel Russian diplomats in a show of support for the UK.

    I haven’t seen that NZ has expelled any Russian diplomats, if they haven’t – or don’t – they will be seen as publicly siding with Russia in this, regardless of what the PM might say.

    This will be embarrassing for NZ if we are seen as supporting Russia for a chemical weapons attack on one of our allies.

    I am embarrassed that my country is showing so little support for the UK, our allies are sending a message to Russia that they cannot use chemical weapons on the soil of a sovereign nation, NZ is sending the message they don’t think it is a big deal.

    • Blazer

       /  March 27, 2018

      lucky National are not in Govt,they’d make them all…M.P’s!It is not a big deal…there is no concrete evidence,a mere trifling…fact for some.

    • NOEL

       /  March 27, 2018

      PM is claiming they could not identify undisclosed Russian intelligence operatives defaulting to a MFAT report for her reasoning.

      http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=12020803.

      Seems strange given we are a member of “5 Eyes’ .

    • lurcher1948

       /  March 27, 2018

      Yep our best friends the UK might not give us a FTA now as we didn’t jump high enough through the hoops, its good to have an independent foreign policy and not be a lap dog to a fading world power.

    • Gezza

       /  March 27, 2018

      These countries as I understand it are expelling diplomats identified as spies.

      • Blazer

         /  March 27, 2018

        we need to expel spies identified as… diplomats.

  4. Free Media

     /  March 28, 2018

    Extreme Nationalism, Economic Imperialism / Trade wars, Arms race, Alliances and Counter alliances, lack of effective international organization like UN and conflicting ideologies has caused wars before. Do we want more? Are we heading towards one? Is it a Cold war 2? Remember war is catastrophic and cause damage to both sides.
    http://dafreeworldmedia.blogspot.com/
    http://www.facebook.com/freeworldmedia

  5. Blazer

     /  March 28, 2018

    What are nerve agents?
    Nerve agents are highly poisonous chemicals that work by disrupting and preventing the nervous system from working properly, according to the US Centre for Disease Control.

    They do this by inhibiting the enzyme which orders the muscle or organ to relax, meaning the muscle is repeatedly receiving a signal to contract.

    While they are commonly referred to as nerve gases, in pure form they are colourless — and mostly odourless — liquids.

    The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons says they are easily dispersed, highly toxic and have rapid effects when absorbed through the skin or through the respiratory system.

    G series agents are known as non-persistent (degrade easily), while V series agents are persistent, meaning they do not degrade or wash away easily and are considered among the most toxic substances ever synthesised.

    There are four main types of nerve agents, including G and V series:

    Sarin (GB),
    Soman (GD)
    Tabun (GA)
    VX