North Atlantic Treaty Organisation to announce 'measures' over United Kingdom poisoning: statement

Nato has expelled seven diplomats from Russia's mission to the alliance and blocked the appointment of three others over the nerve agent attack in Britain this month, Nato Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said on Tuesday.

"It sends a very clear message to Russian Federation that it has costs", NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said.

However, the window for a dialogue with Moscow remains open, the secretary general of the alliance said.

North Atlantic Treaty Organisation is awaiting a new Russian ambassador following the departure of Alexander Grushko.

The US-led military alliance expelled seven Russian staff and denied accreditation to three more, bringing the total number of suspected Russian spies expelled to nearly 150, including the 23 initially dispatched by Britain.

In coordinated announcements of expulsions on Monday, fourteen European Union states including Germany, France, the Netharlands, Italy and Poland are expelling Russian diplomats in a response to the nerve agent attack on a former spy in the English city of Salisbury. "This will bring the maximum size down to twenty", Stoltenberg said.

On March 4, British intelligence agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Julia were exposed to a poisonous substance.

Many EU countries also ordered Russian diplomats out.

Russian Federation has denied any involvement.

On Monday, European Council President Donald Tusk announced in Varna, Bulgaria, that 14 European Union (EU) member states had made a decision to expel Russian diplomats in response to the poisoning of a former Russian spy and his daughter in Britain.

"This is the result of colossal pressure, colossal blackmail which is the main instrument of Washington on the global arena", Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Tuesday.

"The attack in Salisbury was not just an attack against the United Kingdom, but an affront to the global rules-based system on which we all depend for our security and well-being".

They remain in critical condition after exposure to a nerve agent, which, according to the British authorities, could have originated from Russian Federation.

The Prime Minister added: "It is also important to note that our partners are not only taking these measures out of solidarity with the United Kingdom, but also because they recognise the threat that these Russian networks pose to the security of their own countries and the pattern of Russian aggression which has affected us all".

Ireland also announced it was ordering one Russian diplomat to leave.

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.

  • Rogelio Becker