Dutch diplomats expelled as Russia starts to hit back
Moscow, March 30: Russia on Friday expelled Dutch diplomats hitting back at EU countries after a coordinated campaign by the UK and its allies over a nerve agent attack on a former spy.
Earlier in the day Russia summoned the ambassadors of a number of nations including Britain, France, Germany and Canada to inform them of retaliatory measures.
Dutch ambassador Renee Jones- Bos said she had been told two diplomats would be expelled.
“Two of my colleagues are leaving Moscow. But we ( the embassy) are staying here,” state news agency TASS quoted her as saying.
Moscow has already announced that it would expel 60 US diplomats and close Washington’s consulate in Saint Petersburg after the expulsion of its own diplomats and the closure of one of its US consulates.
In all, more than 150 Russian diplomats have been ordered out of the US, EU members, NATO countries and other nations in a coordinated action against Moscow, which they accuse of being involved in the poisoning of ex- spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in a nerve agent attack in the English city of Salisbury on March 4.
“The ambassadors will be handed protest notes and told about the Russian side’s retaliatory measures,” the foreign ministry said in a terse statement. The ministry did not say what those steps would be, but Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Thursday that Moscow would respond with “titfortat” measures.
The flag of the United States flies outside the US Consulate building in St. Petersburg on Friday. — AFP