Russia accuses US of pressuring nations to carry out mass expulsion of its diplomats

Russia accuses US of pressuring nations to carry out mass expulsion of its diplomats
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MOSCOW:Russia has accused Washington of pressuring nations to carry out a mass expulsion of its diplomats in response to a nerve agent attack in the UK.

Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov accused the US of colossal blackmail and said there are few independent countries left in modern Europe.

EU leaders agreed with the UK last week that it was highly likely Russia is behind the nerve-agent poisoning.

Meanwhile, Ireland has ordered a Russian diplomat to leave the country.

The Irish foreign ministry said in a statement that attack in Salisbury was not just an attack against the UK but an affront to the international rules-based system on which we all depend for our security and wellbeing.

Russia also accused Australia of blindly following Britain by deciding to expel two Russian diplomats.

In a statement, the Russian Embassy in Canberra said the regrettable decision jeopardizes the bilateral relationship.

Western nations have expelled more than 130 diplomats in recent days and almost all alleged that the personnel were intelligence officers. APP/AFP

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