Expulsion of Russian diplomats shows North Atlantic Treaty Organisation relevance: Mattis

Britain hailed the mass expulsions as a "turning point" for the West's attitude to a "reckless" Russian Federation, but Moscow denies responsiblity for the poisoning and has vowed to carry out tit-for-tat measures of its own.

Amid the coordinated effort of the West, the U.S. President Donald Trump on Monday ordered the expulsion of 60 Russian diplomats and intelligence officials, and the closure of the Russian Consulate in Seattle.

North Atlantic Treaty Organisation joined 25 governments around the world Tuesday in expelling Russian diplomats in response to a nerve agent attack in Britain, marking what London called a "turning point" in the West's relations with Moscow.

The permanent size of the Russian mission has now been cut from 30 to 20 people, according to the Guardian.

He said the move was intended the show Vladimir Putin's regime "that there are costs and consequences for its unacceptable and risky pattern of behaviour".

In recent days more than 115 Russian diplomats have also been expelled across the globe in a diplomatic backlash against the Kremlin following the attack earlier this month.

It "could become a turning point", he wrote in The Times newspaper, adding: "The Western alliance took decisive action and Britain's partners came together against the Kremlin's reckless ambitions".

"We know for certain that this is a result of colossal pressure and colossal blackmail, which is Washington's chief instrument in the global scene", said Lavrov.

"This is the result of colossal pressure, colossal blackmail which is the main instrument of Washington on the worldwide arena", Lavrov said during a visit to Uzbekistan. "We'll respond, have no doubt". "No one wants to put up with such loutish behavior and we won't", Lavrov said, reiterating Moscow's warning that it was preparing a tit-for-tat response.

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Skripal, who was freed from Russian custody in 2010 in a "spy swap" with the U.S., was found almost comatose on a bench, as was his daughter Yulia.

Skripal was granted refuge in the United Kingdom following a 2010 spy exchange between the US and Russian Federation.

Many EU countries also ordered Russian diplomats out.

The countries that are to expel Russian diplomats along with the numbers are as follows: France (4), Germany (4), Poland (4), Czech Republic (3), Lithuania (3), Denmark (2), Italy (2), the Netherlands (2), Spain (2), Croatia (1), Romania (1), Estonia (1), Finland (1), Hungary (1), Latvia (1), Ireland (1) and Sweden (1).

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.

The list includes 22 European countries including Britain itself which led the way by expelling 23 diplomats.

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

Prime Minister Theresa May, answering questions about Britain's response to Russia's suspected involvement in a poisoning in England, said her government was conducting a review of visas issued to wealthy foreign investors.

Mrs May's spokesman said the PM told the Cabinet the move against Russian Federation was "an unprecedented series of expulsions that has demonstrated to the Kremlin that we will not tolerate their attempts to flout global law, undermine our values or threaten our security". British officials have placed the blame squarely on Russian Federation, a charge President Vladimir Putin adamantly denies.

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