Latvia to expel 'one or several' Russian diplomats over spy attack

G20 meeting – Germany

The EU's ambassador to Moscow has been temporarily withdrawn over the Salisbury poisoning.

"In solidarity with the United Kingdom and other European Union countries, Latvia is now discussing with them how to coordinate a proper response to Russian activity regarding the chemical attack on Sergei Skripal", ministry spokesman Gints Jegermanis told AFP. Rutte said characterised this as a "measure" rather than a formal "sanction" against Moscow.

May had pressed the importance of a united response to the March 4 poisoning and the European Union leaders in Brussels offered her their full support, agreeing in a statement "that it is highly likely that the Russian Federation is responsible and that there is no plausible alternative explanation".

Russian Federation expelled 23 British diplomats last Saturday in a carefully calibrated retaliatory move against London, which has accused the Kremlin of orchestrating the nerve toxin attack on Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in the southern English city of Salisbury earlier this month.

Former double agent Sergei Skipral and his daughter Yulia remain under heavy sedation in hospital almost three weeks after being found unconscious on a bench in the south England town.

Reports suggest as many as five European Union countries - France, Poland and the three Baltic states - could now follow Britain's lead by expelling suspected Russian spies.

The poison involved in the attack has been identified as Novichok, a military-grade nerve agent that was developed in a top-secret laboratory in Moscow in the 1980s and would be extremely hard or impossible to obtain elsewhere.

The EU announced on Thursday that it would recall its ambassador from Moscow for consultations over the incident.


Before the dinner, May met the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, and the French president, Emmanuel Macron, who have been robust in echoing Britain's position.

Their trilateral meeting did not get off to the best start as the British suite at the European Council building in the Belgian capital was plunged into darkness as the lights went out.

Macron called the attack "unprecedented" and said Europe must respond: "It is an aggression against the security and sovereignty of an ally that is today a member of the European Union".

"Greece and Italy were the most reluctant to take further common actions against Russian Federation".

Denmark is also "very seriously considering" unilateral action to support Britain. Trailing far behind the president was Communist Party candidate Pavel Grudinin (11.77%) who ended in second place, while leader of the Liberal-Democratic Party of Russia, Vladimir Zhirinovsky, (5.65%) came in at a distant third.

Danish Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen said his government heard the "strong signal" from the bloc's leaders. He scoffed at British allegations of Moscow's disinformation, saying: "what kind of disinformation can we talk about if there is no information in the first place?"

The judge has since given a go-ahead for doctors to sample the Skripals blood to identify the substance used and to help in an worldwide investigation.

The bench the pair were sitting on when they were found unconscious has been removed by a team in protective suits, as the investigation continues.

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