NATO Expels Seven Russian Diplomats, Denies Three Accreditation

Now Nato rounds on Putin too by throwing out seven of its Russian diplomats

Stoltenberg said he would also deny the pending accreditation request for three other Russian diplomats.

North Atlantic Treaty Organisation decided Tuesday to withdraw the accreditation of seven staff at the Russian Mission to North Atlantic Treaty Organisation in response to the row over the poisoning of Russian ex-spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter in Britain on March 4.

"This sends a clear message to Russian Federation that there are costs and consequences for its unacceptable and risky pattern of behaviour", the former Norwegian prime minister added.

Stoltenberg said Tuesday that the poisoning signaled a "reckless breach of worldwide norms" by Russian Federation, and praised countries that had already taken action to punish Moscow for the attack.

"It is important that we work in solidarity with each other, free people in democracies to stop Russian Federation and condemn Russian Federation for this kind of belligerent activity", Ryan said.

In an unprecedented act of coordination, at least 25 countries have echoed Britain's action in response to the March 4 attack on former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter in the English city of Salisbury. Commenting on the move, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov noted that anti-Russian measures introduced over Skripal case demonstrate how few independent countries remain in the modern world.

"These are carried out under the collective defence clause of NATO's founding treaty - Article 5 of the Washington Treaty or under a United Nations mandate, alone or in cooperation with other countries and global organisations", information on its site says.

"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".

A top Russian diplomat says Moscow is preparing a "tough response" to Monday's announcement by the United States that it is expelling 60 Russian diplomats. He said the Russian ambassador in Dublin has been informed that one diplomat from his embassy must leave Ireland.

London and its allies have blamed Moscow, citing the use of a Soviet-designed nerve agent Novichok, Russia's record of targeting dissidents and its history of aggression in recent years, from Crimea to cyber-attacks.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov told the RIA Novosti news agency on Tuesday that Russia was disappointed by the USA announcement that it would expel 60 Russian diplomats and shut down a Russian consulate in Seattle.

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