Salisbury Nerve Agent Attack: 10 Russian officials expelled by NATO

In light of dangerous pattern of Russian behaviour and lack of constructive response after Salisbury, NATO decided to reduce the number of Russian officials accredited to NATO by 10 : NATO

By: | Updated: 28 Mar 2018 12:26 PM
Salisbury Nerve Agent Attack: 10 Russian officials expelled by NATO

NATO Chief Jon Stoltenberg / Image: Twitter

New Delhi: Joining the coordinated international response against the use of nerve-agent in ex-spy poisoning case, NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organisation) has withdrawn accreditation of seven Russian staffs.

It has  announced that it will be withdrawing accreditation of three more staffs.

On Tuesday 137 Russian diplomats were expelled by 23 countries as a part of coordinated response against Russia.

In a statement Jens Stoltenberg, the Secretary General of NATO said that the attack in Salisbury was the first use of a nerve agent on NATO territory.

He said : “I have today withdrawn the accreditation of seven staff at the Russian Mission to NATO. I will also deny the pending accreditation request for three others. And the North Atlantic Council has reduced the maximum size of the Russian Mission to NATO by ten people, in line with my decision. This will bring the maximum size down to twenty.”

He stated: “On March 14, NATO Allies made clear their deep concern, and condemnation of this reckless breach of international norms. Since then, intensive consultations have taken place among Allies, including here at NATO and in capitals. Those consultations have resulted so far in the expulsion of over 140 Russian officials by over 25 NATO Allies and partners. This is a broad, strong and coordinated international response. And as part of that response, NATO is unified in taking further steps.”

He slammed Russia over “lack of constructive response” to what happened in Salisbury.

“This sends a clear message to Russia that there are costs and consequences for its unacceptable and dangerous pattern of behaviour. Our actions reflect the serious security concerns expressed by all Allies, and are part of the coordinated international effort to respond to Russia’s behaviour” said the NATO Chief.

He however made it clear that the decision does not change NATO’s policy towards Russia. He said: “NATO remains committed to our dual-track approach of strong defence and openness to dialogue, including by working to prepare the next meeting of the NATO-Russia Council.”

Russia is accused of using military grade chemical weapon in the soil of Britain to poison the ex-envoy Skripal, a charge that Russia has strongly denied.

US had alone expelled 60 Russian diplomats on Tuesday, followed by European Union. Among the countries who have aligned together against Russia over alleged ex-spy poisoning case, are Albania, Canada, Croatia, Czechia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania, Spain, Sweden UK, Ukraine and USA.

The White House had said: “Today, President Trump ordered the expulsion of dozens of Russian intelligence officers from the U.S. and the closure of the Russian consulate in Seattle. With these steps, the U.S. and our allies and partners make clear to Russia that its actions have consequences”.

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First Published: 28 Mar 2018 11:50 AM
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