Russia expels Western envoys in tit-for-tat move

A United States flag seen in front of the US Embassy in Moscow, Russia, on March 30, 2018.
A United States flag seen in front of the US Embassy in Moscow, Russia, on March 30, 2018.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

Russia is expelling 60 US diplomats and scores of Western envoys, a tit-for-tat retaliation in a stand-off over the poisoning of a former Russian double agent in the United Kingdom.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said yesterday that the measures against the United States mirror those taken by US President Donald Trump earlier this week.

Britain was also told to cut its diplomatic contingent in Russia to the same size as the Russian mission in Britain. Envoys from Germany, the Netherlands, Italy, Spain, Poland, Lithuania and the Czech Republic, among others, were shown the door.

The US said Moscow's move was not justified as it was responsible for the nerve agent attack on former spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia. Further action against Russia cannot be ruled out, said the State Department.

Meanwhile, the hospital where Ms Yulia Skripal is being treated said she was getting better after spending three weeks in a critical condition. Her father remains in a critical but stable condition.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 31, 2018, with the headline 'Russia expels Western envoys in tit-for-tat move'. Print Edition | Subscribe