Fourteen EU countries joined with the United States and other allies to expel Russian diplomats on Monday in response to a nerve agent attack in Salibsury, England.
European Council President Donald Tusk announced the coordinated expulsions at a meeting of EU leaders in Varna, Bulgaria. At the same time, Tusk expressed condolences for a shopping center fire in Siberia that killed more than 50 people, including many children.
In announcing the expulsions, Tusk reiterated the European Council’s conclusions from a summit meeting last week that declared it “highly likely” Russia was responsible for the attempted assassination of a former double agent, Sergei Skripal, and that “there is no plausible alternative explanation” to Russia’s culpability.
Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, remain hospitalized.
“As a direct follow-up to last week’s European Council decision to react to Russia within a common framework,” Tusk said, “fourteen member states have decided to expel Russian diplomats.”
“Additional measures including further expulsions … are not to be excluded in the coming days and weeks,” Tusk said.
In the United States, the White House announced the expulsion of dozens of Russian diplomats and ordered the closure of the Russian Consulate in Seattle, citing the close proximity of a submarine base and the Boeing manufacturing plant.
Ukraine also announced it was expelling 13 Russian diplomats.