15 countries to expel Russian diplomats in solidarity with UK - Tusk

Europe Materials 26 March 2018 17:42 (UTC +04:00)

Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Germany, France, Denmark, Ukraine, the Czech Republic, the Netherlands, France, Italy and the US have decided to expel Russian diplomats amid Skripal's case, Sputnik reports.

"Fourteen out of 28 EU member-states have decided to expel diplomats from the Russian Federation as a measure of solidarity with London on the Skripal case," European Council President Donald Tusk said.

So far the following countries have announced the expulsion of Russian diplomats,

Poland — 4
Lithuania — 3
Latvia — 1
The Netherlands — 2
Ukraine — 13
France — 4
Denmark — 2
The Czech Republic — 3
Estonia — 1
Germany — 4
Italy — 2
The US — 60

Lithuania's Foreign Minister Linas Linkevicius said "We have to do the utmost to show… solidarity with our allies," and to come up with "coordinated measures" as well as national measures.

"Today, Poland decided to declare four Russian diplomats persona non-grata," Polish Foreign Minister Jacek Czaputowicz said.

According to the Russian Embassies in Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia, the Ambassadors to these countries have been summoned earlier to the Ministries of Foreign Affairs of the respective nations.

Czech PM: 'Unreported Spies' to be Expelled

The Czech Prime Minister says not Russian diplomats, but "unreported spies" will be expelled from the Czech Republic over the Skripal case.

"The use of a term ‘diplomat' [in the light of the issue of expulsion] is wrong. In fact, these are people who are called ‘unreported spies.' It seems that there are more of them in the Czech Republic than in any other country in Europe… Moreover, the Russian side has scandalously accused us, saying this Novichok poison is allegedly being manufactured here. This is a blatant lie," Andrej Babis wrote on his Facebook page.

Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova characterized the expulsion of Russian diplomats from EU countries as the loyal lip service to the UK and accused London of imposing on Europeans a deterioration in relations with Russia.

"Now the ‘parade of sovereignties’ will start, the-loyal lip service of political support by EU countries for London," wrote the official representative of the Russian Foreign Ministry Maria Zakharova on her Facebook page.

She noted that "everything that will happen now in the public-diplomatic sphere (reviews, expulsions, etc.) will be explained by the EU as 'solidarity' with London, as the EU's foreign policy requires."

"When London leaves the EU, amid its Brexit process, it will not be bound by the framework of a general line in foreign policy. It will be able to start a game for approaching or removal. But the countries remaining in the European Union will be bound by the mutual guarantee of anti-Russian solidarity, the has already been imposed by the British," she said.