US expels 60 Russians as allies back Britain in spy row

At least 116 alleged agents working under diplomatic cover were ordered out by 22 governments, dwarfing similar measures in even the most notorious Cold War spying disputes, and marking a British diplomatic victory.

US expels 60 Russians as allies back Britain in spy row

World Bulletin / News Desk

The United States and Britain's allies around the world have expelled scores of suspected Russian spies in an unprecedented response to a nerve agent attack.

Washington led the way, ordering out 60 Russians, in a new blow to US-Russia ties less than a week after President Donald Trump congratulated his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin on his re-election.

Canada, Ukraine, Albania, Australia, and most European Union states matched the move with smaller-scale expulsions after Britain urged allies to respond to the poisoning of double agent Sergei Skripal.

Russia has denied it was behind the attempted assassination, which left Skripal and his daughter gravely ill in perhaps the first nerve agent attack in Europe since World War II.

It warned that there would be a tit-for-tat response to those countries "pandering to British authorities" without, Moscow claims, fully understanding what had happened.

But Western officials made it clear in announcing the expulsions that they share Britain's assessment that only the Kremlin could have been behind the March 4 incident in Salisbury, England.

White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said Washington and its allies were acting "in response to Russia's use of a military-grade chemical weapon on the soil of the United Kingdom."

The strong language contrasted with Trump's warm words of last week when he overrode his advisors' concerns and congratulated Putin on his election win.

Last Mod: 27 Mart 2018, 09:38
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