North Atlantic Treaty Organisation expels 7 Russian diplomats over spy poisoning

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Last week, following an European Union summit in Brussels, the U.K., Germany, and France reaffirmed that the Russian state was responsible for the nerve agent poisoning of Skripal and his daughter. Russian Federation denounced the actions as "boorish" and pledged to retaliate.

In Washington, U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis told reporters that Russian Federation "has the potential to be a partner" with North Atlantic Treaty Organisation members but had "chosen to seek a different relationship".

British Prime Minister Theresa May on Tuesday told UK Parliament that 23 countries had expelled more than 115 Russian intelligence diplomats, which "represents an unprecedented series of expulsions that demonstrates to the Kremlin that we will not tolerate their attempts to flout global law, undermine our values or threaten our security".

Stoltenberg said he would also deny the pending accreditation request for three other Russian diplomats. Australia, Belgium, Ireland and Moldova joined them Tuesday.

"This will send a clear message to Russian Federation that there are costs and consequences for their unacceptable pattern of behavior", he added.

"The attack in Salisbury was not just an attack against the United Kingdom but an affront to the worldwide rules-based system on which we all depend for our security and wellbeing", Ireland's Foreign Ministry said.

The Prime Minister added: "It is also important to note that our partners are not only taking these measures out of solidarity with the United Kingdom, but also because they recognise the threat that these Russian networks pose to the security of their own countries and the pattern of Russian aggression which has affected us all".

"Never before have so many countries come together to expel Russian diplomats", British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson earlier wrote in The Times, calling it "a "blow from which Russian intelligence will need many years to recover".

Johnson also accused Russian Federation of seeking to avoid pressure by putting out a variety of explanations for what Western officials say was the first offensive use of a chemical weapon in Europe since World War II.

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"The Russian ambassador will be notified about this decision within 48 hours".

"It is astonishing how easily the allies of Great Britain follow it blindly contrary to the norms of civilized bilateral dialogue and global relations, and against ... common sense", it said.

Earlier this month, Britain announced to expel 23 Russian diplomats and freeze Russian state assets in Britain.

Irish deputy premier and foreign minister Simon Coveney said: "The use of chemical weapons, including the use of any toxic chemicals as weapons, by anyone, anywhere, is particularly shocking and abhorrent".

They mostly work now from Russian diplomatic premises in central Brussels.

Bulgaria, which has so far refrained from ordering any Russians out, said it has recalled its ambassador to Moscow for "consultations".

In Prague, Paul Ryan, the Republican U.S. House Speaker, on Tuesday commended unity shown over the affair.

Lavrov said the coordinated response was the result of "colossal pressure, colossal blackmail" from the United States.

In retaliation, Moscow expelled an equal number of British diplomats and closed a British consular mission.

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