Numerous European Nations Ready to Expel Russian Diplomats Over Ex-Spy Poisoning

Australia Ireland NATO join in expelling Russian envoys

Stoltenberg also announced he had denied accreditation to three more staff, reducing the maximum size of the Russian mission to 20 people.

Stoltenberg said "we will continue to work for meaningful dialogue" with Russian Federation, but added that the measure announced Tuesday should "send a very clear message to Russian Federation that it has costs".

Still, the former Norwegian prime minister said this "does not change NATO's policy towards Russia" and reiterated his commitment to a "dual-track approach of strong defense and openness to dialogue".

Washington's expulsions represented the largest ever of Russian or Soviet agents and came after US President Donald Trump's predecessor Barack Obama expelled 35 in late 2016 over alleged election meddling.

Stoltenberg said he would also deny the pending accreditation request for three other Russian diplomats.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said in a statement that the intensive consultations have taken place among NATO allies following the "attack in Salisbury" against Skripal and his daughter.

Russia's ambassadors in Poland as well as Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia have been summoned to those countries' foreign ministries, said the reports.

Former GRU officer Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were poisoned on 4 March.

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North Atlantic Treaty Organisation withdrew accreditation for seven staff members at Russia's mission to the alliance on Tuesday in response to a nerve agent attack on a former Russian double agent in England.

"When one or two diplomats are asked to leave this or that country, with apologies being whispered into our ears, we know for certain that this is a result of colossal pressure and blackmail, which is Washington's chief instrument in the worldwide scene".

"I welcome the global support that we have garnered", she said.

Russian Federation has denied any involvement.

Many EU countries also ordered Russian diplomats out.

As UNIAN reported earlier, European Union member states, the USA, as well as Ukraine announced plans on Monday to expel more than 100 Russian diplomats in retaliation for the attack.

Asked on Monday about a report that the US would also expel Russian diplomats, presidential spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said that Russia will act according to the principle of reciprocity.

It responded to Britain's expulsions with its own, and the closure of the British Council cultural organisation - and on Tuesday promised it would hit back against the coordinated moves.

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