European Union recalls its ambassador to Moscow over Salisbury attack

European Union recalls its ambassador to Moscow over Salisbury attack

European Union recalls its ambassador to Moscow over Salisbury attack

Britain expelled 23 Russian diplomats in retaliation for the attack. The statement added that "there is no plausible alternative explanation".

European Council president Donald Tusk said it: "Agrees with United Kingdom government that highly likely Russian Federation is responsible for Salisbury attack and that there is no other plausible explanation".

The assault stoked British rage over what UK Prime Minister Theresa May called "a brazen attempt to murder innocent civilians on our soil".

According to the United Kingdom, they were exposed to a Soviet-era nerve agent known as Novichok, a colorless, odorless and tasteless liquid described as one of the world's most sophisticated and deadly chemical weapons. Both of them remain in critical condition in hospital.

However, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told media that they "regret" the EU's decision to recall its envoy.

Merkel said European Union member states would debate on what measures to take "and then act".

"We're talking about what the next steps might be".

The EU statement came as a welcome boost to Mrs May in her increasingly bitter stand-off with Moscow - and reports suggested that as many as five EU countries - France, Poland and the three Baltic states - could now follow Britain's lead by expelling suspected Russian spies. "The minister for Foreign Affairs Tanaiste (Simon Coveney) and I already spoke about this, in the coming days so we will make that decision I would say the early part of next week".

But Greek PM Alexis Tsipras said while he wanted to "express solidarity" with Britain "we also need to be responsible on that issue".

France's Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, on a visit to Kiev, signalled that Paris was considering expelling Russian diplomats in solidarity with Britain.

The Danish prime minister, Lars Løkke Rasmussen, said his country would also consider whether it should take unilateral steps.

Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said Ireland would conduct a security assessment of Russian diplomats with a view to possibly expelling those who are not legitimate.

The summit statement hardened previous European Union language on Russia's alleged role as Macron and others helped May to overcome hesitation on the part of some states that feel friendlier to Moscow.

"We live in one continent " he said. "Safe at home", Foreign Office official Simon McDonald said on Twitter after the diplomats arrived back at a British air force base later on Friday. "They recognised and agreed with the UK Government's assessment". "We believe that it is possible to continue an exchange of views within the framework of the appropriate worldwide structure, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons". The OPCW chief, Ahmet Üzümcü, said it would take two to three weeks to complete laboratory analysis of samples.

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