Australia, Ireland join countries expelling Russians

Australia, Ireland join countries expelling Russians

Germany was one of the first to make the announcement as Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said Berlin had "expelled four Russian diplomats". "If we did, we would expel them", Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern told state radio.

"When we see these espionage tactics that are taking place right here at the heart of the United Nations, we can't have that", said Nikki Haley, Trump's envoy to the United Nations.

Meanwhile, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Moscow regretted the decision by Western countries to expel Russian diplomats.

Dozens of European and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies joined the United States and expelled Russian intelligence officials from their countries.

Peskov told Tass the Foreign Ministry would submit possible retaliatory measures to President Vladimir Putin for consideration, saying any final decision would lie with the Russian leader.

"Of course this is a blow to our mission, but I think we'll mobilize", Nebenzia told Tass.

The strong support from the EU countries, as well as Ukraine, the US and Canada followed a European Council meeting held in Brussels this week.

Mr Johnson said: "Today's extraordinary worldwide response by our allies stands in history as the largest collective expulsion of Russian intelligence officers ever & will help defend our shared security". It was not immediately clear how many Russians are assigned to its various U.S. missions, but in 2016 Putin ordered the United States to reduce its Moscow personnel to 455 to achieve parity.

Mrs May said: "President Putin's regime is carrying out acts of aggression against our shared values and interests within our continent and beyond". A British policeman who was exposed to the nerve agent when he responded to the attack on the former Russian officer has now been released from treatment.

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Britain had evidence Russian Federation has investigated ways of distributing nerve agents for assassinations, May told parliament.

Russia has already ordered 23 British diplomats out of the country after Britain expelled 23 Russian diplomats.

European Council President Donald Trusk wouldn't rule out on Monday the possibility of further expulsions of diplomats in the days to come.

9NEWS this morning broke the news that Australia would follow suit by expelling two undeclared intelligence officials based at the Russian Embassy in Canberra.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on Tuesday that it would like to expel Russian dipllomats in retaliation for allegedly poisoning Sergei Skripal, only it can't find any Moscow operatives in the remote South Pacific nation. A British judge ruled last week that blood samples from former Russian spy Skripal and his daughter Yulia could be taken for testing by the world chemical weapons body (OPCW).

The world-wide expulsion of Russian diplomats followed the departure of 23 Russian diplomats from the United Kingdom last week over the Salisbury incident.

"The decision of the authorities of the Republic of Moldova comes as solidarity with the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and following the conclusions of the European Council of 23-24 March 2018, which characterizes the Salisbury attack as a threat to collective security and worldwide law", the ministry said in a statement posted on its website.

Turkey also said it would not be taking action, with Deputy Prime Minister and government spokesman Bekir Bozdag telling reporters in Ankara on Monday: "There is a positive and good relation between Turkey and Russian Federation".

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