It’s the biggest mass expulsion of diplomats in modern history. It stretches from the United States to former Soviet republics. Britain’s allies stepped-up, expelling more than 100 Russians.
It’s a show of support, following the poisoning of a former Russian spy and his daughter on U.K. soil. London is accusing Russia with using a Soviet-made nerve agent. CGTN’s Sean Callebs reports.
In the United States, Canada, and the European Union, Russian diplomats are being sent packing.
Their goodbye came with a harsh admonishment by world leaders.
“It is part of a pattern of increasingly aggressive Russian behavior, but also represents a new and dangerous phase in Russia’s hostile activity against Europe and our shared values and interests,” Theresa May, British Prime Minister said
It was the attempted killing of former Russian intelligence officer Sergei Skripal and his daughter, by the use of chemical weapons. A number of nations are now unified, kicking Russian diplomats out of their country, saying Russia’s fingerprints are all over that attack.
“The European Council agreed with the United Kingdom government’s assessment that it is highly likely that the Russian Federation is responsible, and that there’s no plausible alternative explanation,” stated Donald Tusk, President of the European Council.
It’s being called the largest collective expulsion of Russian intelligence officers in history.
The United States showed 60 Russian diplomats the door and ordered a consulate in the northwestern city of Seattle closed.
“Today’s actions make the united states a safer place by limiting the ability of Russia to spy on Americans and conduct covert activities that threaten America’s national security,” explained Jon Huntsman, U.S. Ambassador to Russia.
“That’s a very unfortunate and unfriendly move,” was the response Vassily Nebenzia, Russian Ambassador to the UN. Russia is calling the measures to expel diplomats “provocative” and said it would retaliate.
Russia has also tried to pin blame on the chemical weapons attack on the U.S. and the EU.
The U.S. Ambassador to the U.N., Nikki Haley, said that Russia has used the United Nations as a safe haven for launching its dangerous activities.
While the Russian expulsions are significant, experts said that most Russian intelligence is not gathered by agents shielded by the cloak of diplomacy and that Moscow still has plenty of ways to spy on the west.