Russian diplomats expelled from 14 EU nations, says Donald Tusk
Poland, Germany and Lithuania earlier confirmed they were to expel diplomats.
European Council president Donald Tusk has said 14 member nations have expelled Russian diplomatic staff over the poisoning of an ex-spy in the UK.
Mr Tusk said that there may be additional measures including further expulsions in the coming days and weeks.
In coordinated announcements of expulsions on Monday, the Czech Republic said it is removing three staffers from the Russian embassy over the poisoning of former double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia.
The Netherlands said it is expelling two Russian intelligence officers, while Estonia said it was expelling the Russian defence attache. The Italian Foreign Ministry announced that Italy would expel two Russian diplomats assigned to the embassy within a week.
Poland, Germany and Lithuania earlier confirmed they were among the European countries set to expel Russian diplomats.
Today 14 EU Member States decided to expel Russian diplomats as direct follow-up to #EUCO discussion last week on #SalisburyAttack. Additional measures including further expulsions are not excluded in coming days, weeks.— Donald Tusk (@eucopresident) March 26, 2018
Germany and Poland both said they had asked four Russian diplomats to leave, while in Lithuania, three Russian diplomats were ordered to leave.
The German foreign ministry said in a statement that the move was part of a joint European response to the Skripal case.
It said: “The expulsion of four diplomats is a strong signal of solidarity with Great Britain and signals the resolve of the Germany government not to leave attacks against our closest partners and allies unanswered.”
The ministry added that the move was also a response to the recent cyber-attacks against German government networks, “which according to information so far is highly likely to be attributable to Russian sources”.