Author Topic: “the largest collective expulsion of Russian intelligence officers in history.”  (Read 561 times)

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Offline thaiga

US and EU expel scores of Russian diplomats over Skripal attack

US orders expulsion of 60 officials as 14 EU member states plus Ukraine announce coordinated response to nerve agent poisoning

The US, the EU, Canada and Ukraine have ordered the expulsion of dozens of Russian diplomats in response to the nerve agent attack in the UK, in a show of solidarity that represents the biggest concerted blow to Russian intelligence networks in the west since the cold war.

More than 100 Russian diplomats in western countries alleged to be spies are being told to return to Moscow, in a coordinated response to the use of a chemical weapon in the 4 March attempted murder of Sergei Skripal, a former Russian intelligence official, and his daughter, Yulia, in Salisbury.

In a sombre statement in the House of Commons, Theresa May welcomed what she said was “the largest collective expulsion of Russian intelligence officers in history.”

“I have found great solidarity from our friends and partners in the EU, North America, NATO and beyond over the past three weeks as we have confronted the aftermath of the Salisbury incident,” the prime minister said. “And together we have sent a message that we will not tolerate Russia’s continued attempts to flout international law and undermine our values.”

The Russian government warned it would retaliate in kind, raising the prospect of further tit-for-tat expulsions, as the US and Europe left the door open for additional measures. The Kremlin said Vladimir Putin would make the final decision, and the Russian embassy in the US launched a poll on Twitter on which US consulate in Russia should be closed.

The US has ordered the expulsion of 60 Russian officials who Washington says are spies, including a dozen based at the United Nations, and told Moscow to shut down its consulate in Seattle, which would end Russian diplomatic representation on the west coast.

EU members Germany, France and Poland are each to expel four Russian diplomats with intelligence agency backgrounds. Lithuania and the Czech Republic said they would expel three with Denmark, Italy and the Netherlands expelling two each. Estonia, Latvia, Croatia, Finland and Romania expelled one Russian. Ukraine, which is not an EU member, is to expel 13 Russian diplomats, while Albania, an EU candidate member, ordered the departure of two Russians at the embassy in Tirana.

Canada also announced it was expelling four diplomatic staff serving in Ottawa and Montreal, who the Canadian government said were spies. A pending application from Moscow for three more diplomatic posts in Canada is being denied.

The UK expelled 23 Russian diplomats in the wake of the poisoning, and Russia responded by ejecting the same number of British diplomats.

Moscow has insisted that the UK had not presented evidence that Moscow was behind the poisoning of the Skripals. The UK has refused to provide a sample of the nerve agent to Russia but has supplied one the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), which is conducting its own investigation.

A senior US official said that the expulsions and the Seattle consulate closure were in response to “a reckless attempt by the [Russian] government to murder a British citizen and his daughter with a military grade nerve agent”.

A second official said the measures were also intended as a response to a “steady drumbeat of destabilising and aggressive actions” by Moscow against the US and its allies.

full article theguardian.com
Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist should have his head examined.
 

Offline thaiga

Britain hails 'turning point' after Russian spy expulsions

Britain Tuesday hailed the mass expulsion of suspected Russian spies around the world as a "turning point" for the West's attitude to a "reckless" Russia, as Moscow prepared its response.

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

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

"I believe that yesterday's events could become a turning point," he said, adding: "The Western alliance took decisive action and Britain's partners came together against the Kremlin's reckless ambitions".

The expulsions were a response to the poisoning of Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia with a nerve agent in the English city of Salisbury on March 4.

Skripal, a Russian military intelligence officer imprisoned by Moscow for passing on information about Russian agents in various European countries, came to Britain in a 2010 spy swap.

Britain earlier ordered the expulsion of 23 Russian diplomats after blaming Moscow for the attack -- a charge fiercely denied by Moscow, which has pointed the finger at British intelligence.

Britain's allies followed suit, with Washington leading the way by 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.

Australia, Canada, Ukraine and most European Union states matched the move with smaller-scale expulsions.

- 'Full Cold War' -

Russia has warned it is preparing a tit-for-tat response to those countries "pandering to British authorities" without, Moscow claims, fully understanding what had happened.

"These expulsions are particularly destructive for US-Russia relations," foreign policy analyst Fyodor Lukyanov wrote in the Vedomosti daily.

"Relations between Russia and the West are entering a period of full Cold War," he said.

The Izvestia daily dismissed the expulsions as a "russophobic flashmob".

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 incident.

White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders on Monday 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."

- 'No one is fooled any more' -

In his article for The Times, Johnson said the attack fell into pattern of "reckless behaviour" by Russian President Vladimir Putin, including the annexation of Crimea.

"The common thread is Putin's willingness to defy the essential rules on which the safety of every country depends," he said.

"Hence every responsible nation shares a vital interest in standing firm against him," he said.

Johnson also accused Russia of seeking to avoid pressure by putting out a variety of explanations for the attack -- the first in Europe since the end of World War II.

"There was a time when this tactic of sowing doubt might have been effective, but no one is fooled any more. I believe yesterday was a moment when the cynicism of the propaganda machine was exposed for all to see," he said.

US officials said that 48 "intelligence officers" attached to Russian diplomatic missions in the US would be expelled, along with 12 accredited to the United Nations in New York.

In addition, the Russian consulate general in Seattle will be closed, the White House said.

This represents the largest US expulsion of Russian or Soviet agents ever and comes after Trump's predecessor Barack Obama expelled 35 in late 2016 over alleged election meddling.

Russia's foreign ministry warned that the "unfriendly step by this group of countries will not pass without trace and we will respond to it."

bangkokpost.com
Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist should have his head examined.
 

 



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