Skripal skirmish shatters Russia's ties with the West
31 March 2018
In a tit for tat move, Russia has ordered the expulsion of more than 150 diplomats from nearly two-dozen countries in retaliation for such action taken against its own diplomats in those nations.
The Russian foreign ministry spokesman said his country was responding to action taken by these nations against its diplomats. Trouble broke out after Britain accused Russia of initiating a chemical weapon attack on Sergei Skripal, a former Russian double agent, and his daughter, in Salisbury, on March 4
Both Britain and the US accused Moscow of using Russian-made nerve gas against the two. In retaliation for the alleged action, Britain expelled two dozen Russian diplomats, with a quickly retaliation from Moscow with an equal number of expulsions of diplomats.
The US, Germany and more than a score of other western countries announced similar expulsions of Russian diplomats over the past few days to express their solidarity with Britain.
According to a spokesperson of the German foreign ministry, “our reaction in the Skripal case was necessary and appropriate as a political signal, out of solidarity with the United Kingdom and because Russia has refused to give any clarification of the facts.”
The British Foreign and Commonwealth Office described the alleged Russian act as a “flagrant breach of international law and the Chemical Weapons Convention and actions by countries around the world have demonstrated the depth of international concern.”
Russia of course has denied any state involvement in the incident; it has also suggested that Britain could have perpetrated the attack as a provocation.
With the US also taking the lead in initiating action against Russia, Moscow also decided to expel 60 American diplomats and to also close the consulate in St Petersburg. The US then announced the closure of the Russian consulate in Seattle.
In retaliation for the mass expulsions of its diplomats from several western countries, Russia decided to likewise declare diplomats from those countries as ‘persona non grata.’
The Russian government summoned the heads of diplomatic missions from several countries and handed notes of protest and declared the relevant number of diplomats from those nations persona non grata.