Up to 16 European Union (EU) countries and U.S.A have intensified their response against the Russia by expelling around 100 diplomats from their respective nations. U.S.A has expelled 60 diplomats from the consulate in Seattle, while EU has discharged 33 Russian officials to express their solidarity with the U.K. following the poisoning of Russian ex-spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter.
“…President Donald J. Trump ordered the expulsion of dozens of Russian intelligence officers from the United States and the closure of the Russian consulate in Seattle due to its proximity to one of our submarine bases and Boeing,” informed a statement put out by White House. The diplomats and their families have been given a week’s time to exit the country. The Russian consulate has been notified to stop its operations in U.S.A by April 2.
The closing down of consulates have taken place due to the allegations of Russia using military-grade nerve agent (organic chemical affecting nerves functioning) to kill former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter. This attempted assassination took place llast month in Salisbury, U.K. They are reported to be critically ill. Skripal was a Russian military intelligence officer who worked for the U.K intelligence services during 1990s and early 2000s. He was convicted and imprisoned by Russia, but was exchanged for Russian citizens accused of espionage in U.S.A.
Britain claimed that Russia used the nerve-agent Novichok to kill Skripal in Salisbury. It expelled 23 diplomats last week. Boris Johnson, Britain’s foreign secretary called this collective expulsion as an expression that Russia is not immune to any punishment, when it disregards international norms.
Today’s extraordinary international response by our allies stands in history as the largest collective expulsion of Russian intelligence officers ever & will help defend our shared security. Russia cannot break international rules with impunity
— Boris Johnson (@BorisJohnson) March 26, 2018
Canada and Australia have also have joined in cornering Russia by agreeing to expel Russian diplomats from their respective countries like U.S.A and EU.
Moscow has denied all allegations and has said of giving befitting reply by expelling the same number of British diplomats from Russia. Officials of Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) collected the samples of the nerve-agent on 19th March. The results are awaited of the same, and then it will be established if indeed there was any Russian involvement or not.
(Source: Al-Jazeera, The Hindu, The Sun)