Many EU nations join US in expelling Russian diplomats

Several European Union countries joined the US on March 26 in expelling dozens of Russian diplomats in a coordinated retaliation for the March 4 nerve-agent poisoning in Britain of a former Russian spy, which the British government blames on Russia and has accused the Kremlin of having approved.

The coordinated expulsions — unprecedented since the Cold War — drew instant condemnation from the Kremlin, which warned it would respond in kind and order like-for-like expulsions. The first expulsions announced were in Washington, with the Trump administration ordering 60 Russian diplomats to leave, closely followed by Germany, which gave four their marching orders.

The Netherlands expelled two Russian diplomats; Estonia ordered out the Russian defense attache; the Czech Republic announced it was expelling three Russian embassy staff.

Lithuania said it is expelling three Russian diplomats and banning 44 other Russian officials from entering the country. Latvia said it was ejecting one Russian diplomat. France said it is also expelling four Russian diplomats. Poland’s foreign minister said four Russian diplomats in the country have been expelled.

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(Photo of the Russian foreign ministry building in Moscow: Sailko, via Wikimedia Commons)