NATO Announces Expulsion Of Russia Diplomats Following Nerve Agent Attack

Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis answers a question from a reporter during his meeting with Indonesia's Minister of Foreign Affairs Retno Marsudi Monday

Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis answers a question from a reporter during his meeting with Indonesia's Minister of Foreign Affairs Retno Marsudi Monday

NATO has reduced the staff of Russia's mission from 30 to 20 over the reported poisoning of former GRU Colonel Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia, which London blames on Moscow, NATO's Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg told a news conference in Brussels. Indeed, if North Atlantic Treaty Organisation didn't exist, those Russian diplomats wouldn't have been there to be expelled in the first place, because there'd be no need for Russia to have a separate delegation for the military alliance on top of missions to all of the member nations.

The United States, the European Union nations and some other countries, including Ireland, have announced they would expel a total of more than 130 Russian diplomats in response to the nerve agent attack on a former Russian intelligence officer and his daughter in Britain.

Britain has said the Skripals were poisoned with the Soviet-developed nerve agent "Novichok", though Russian Federation has denied involvement.

On Monday, the US, Germany, Canada and a number of other nations expelled a scores of Moscow diplomats, a move Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov described as "blackmail".

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The Skripals were found slumped on a bench at a shopping center in Salisbury, in southern England, following the March 4 attack.

"We know for certain that this is a result of colossal pressure and colossal blackmail, which is Washington's chief instrument in the global scene", said Lavrov.

It responded to Britain's expulsions with its own, and the closure of the British Council cultural organisation - and on Tuesday promised it would hit back against the coordinated moves.

Applauding the expulsions, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters, "We are certainly applying pressure on Russian Federation, we're certainly encouraging working with our allies and partners also to do so, and I think you've seen an unprecedented number of countries and join the United States in that effort". The two have been in a coma since then and British Prime Minister Theresa May said earlier this week that they "may never fully recover".

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