European Union recalls Moscow envoy after blaming Russian Federation over spy attack

24 March, 2018, 16:39 | Author: Mable Gonzales
  • A Britain's Titan Airways Boeing 757 aircraft is seen at Vnukovo airport in Moscow

European Union leaders returned to summit talks on Friday after uniting behind British Prime Minister Theresa May in blaming Russian Federation for the attack in England, and agreeing to recall the bloc's ambassador to Moscow for consultations. "We still do not see any facts", state news agency RIA Novosti quoted him as saying on a visit to Hanoi.

But German Chancellor Angela Merkel said evidence of Russian culpability presented by British Prime Minister Theresa May was "very solidly based" and promised new measures after European Union leaders agreed late on Thursday to recall their ambassador to Moscow. "The absence of which makes one think that all of this is a provocation, the investigation has not even been finished yet".

On Friday, the Russian foreign ministry described the EU accusation as "baseless" and accused the bloc of spurning cooperation with Moscow and joining "another anti-Russian campaign deployed by London and its allies overseas with an obvious goal: to put another obstacle on the path to the normalisation of the situation on the European continent".

The EU has recalled its ambassador from Moscow for consultations over an incident it called "a grave challenge to our shared security".

The leaders of former Soviet bloc European Union states the Czech Republic and Lithuania, as well as Denmark and Ireland, said they were considering further unilateral steps, including expelling diplomats.

Angela Merkel said Germany would also consider "further measures" against Russian Federation.

It is understood nations including France, Estonia, Poland and Lithuania are preparing to expel Russian diplomats - or spies posing as diplomats - from their countries.

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She managed to overcome resistance from countries like Greece and Italy who were reluctant to put their close Kremlin ties in jeopardy to persuade them to back Britain's conclusion that Moscow was to blame.

Tusk said in a statement: "It is very hard to prepare an adequate reaction to this kind of behaviour like a nerve agent attack".

But divisions remain over how far to go, with Austria already ruling out expelling diplomats, and Tusk, a former Polish prime minister, said it was not clear how many states would join the expulsions.

Mr Skripal was "shunned" after being convicted of treason and his old classmates felt he had betrayed his country, said Mr Timoshkov - a school friend of Mr Skripal's.

The leaders of the Czech Republic, Denmark and Ireland all said they were considering further unilateral steps, including expelling diplomats.

The Skripals are both in a coma after being found collapsed on a park bench, although a policeman who was also contaminated was released from hospital on Thursday.

A convoy of vehicles left the British Embassy in Moscow on Friday ahead of a Russian deadline.

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