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Russia to expel 4 French diplomats over spy row

News Agencies | Updated on: 31 March 2018, 10:53 IST

Russia will expel four French diplomats in the aftermath of poisoning of former spy Sergei Skripal at his home in Britain's Salisbury.

"Russia's decision to expel four French embassy staff from Russia does not surprise us. We regret this and want to point out that to this day that Russia has refused to give any explanation about the attack in Salisbury," France 24 reported, citing the French foreign ministry, as saying, in a statement.

France on Monday expelled four Russian diplomats as a part of solidarity with Britain over the spy row.

Retired military intelligence officer Skripal, 66, and his daughter, Yulia, 33, were found slumped on a bench in Salisbury city centre on March 4.

British Prime Minister Theresa May on Tuesday told UK Parliament that 23 countries had expelled more than 115 Russian intelligence diplomats, which "represents an unprecedented series of expulsions that demonstrates to the Kremlin that we will not tolerate their attempts to flout international law, undermine our values or threaten our security".

Only a handful of EU countries including Austria, Portugal, Greece and Malta, have declined to take any step.

Many other countries have expelled one or two diplomats, a move designed to register support for the UK.

Russia on Thursday said that it will expel 60 US diplomats and close the American consulates in St Petersburg.

The Foreign Minister said Russia would not only provide a mirror response to the West's steps but even "more than that".


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First published: 31 March 2018, 10:53 IST