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Several EU countries might recall diplomats from Moscow — source

March 23, 4:07 updated at: March 23, 6:40 UTC+3

Some EU leaders also contemplate expelling Russian diplomats from their countries, the source said

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© EPA-EFE/STEPHANIE LECOCQ

BRUSSELS, March 23. /TASS/. Several EU countries are considering the option to recall their diplomats from Russia or expel Russian diplomats due to the incident with Russia’s former intelligence officer Sergei Skripal and his daughter allegedly poisoned in Salisbury, a European source told TASS on the sidelines of the EU Council in Brussels on Friday.

"Some member states are considering the possibility of recalling national diplomats and/or expelling Russian ones," he said.

According to the diplomat, "so far less than half of EU member-countries are ready to assume such measures," including Poland, France and the three Baltic states. "Regarding the time it is early to say now. First, a decision should be made, which is followed by national procedures," the source said.

EU Ambassador recall

Leaders of the EU countries have also decided to recall Ambassador to Russia Markus Ederer for consultations, the source added.

"After several hours (of discussions) heads of states and governments decided to recall Ambassador to Russia for consultations as a political sign of solidarity with London," he said, adding that "this is a symbolic step by Brussels."

Speaking about the timing, the source said the move follows the technical procedure. "The decision has been made. Now the technical procedure should be conducted. I cannot say when exactly he will be recalled," the diplomat said.

On March 4, ex-Colonel of Russia’s Main Intelligence Directorate convicted for spying for the United Kingdom, Sergey Skripal, 66, and his daughter Yulia ,33, were exposed to a nerve agent. They were found unconscious on a bench near a shopping center in Salisbury. On March 12, British Prime Minister Theresa May said it was highly likely that Russia was responsible for the attack on Skripal and his daughter. PM accused Russia of "an unlawful use of force" against her country. Later she announced that London would expel 23 Russian diplomats and take other measures against Moscow.

On March 17, Russia’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement that 23 British diplomats have been declared persona non grata and would be expelled within a week. Moreover, the ministry stated that Moscow would withdraw permission to open the British Consulate General in St. Petersburg and terminate the British Council in the Russian Federation.

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