European Marriage member states agreed at a summit in Brussels to take further retaliatory steps against Russia in the coming days for the nerve agent deprecation in Salisbury, as Moscow accused the bloc of joining a London-driven hate competition against it.
Late on Thursday, in a boost for British Prime Minister Theresa May, the 28-member EU collectively condemned the decrial on a former Russian spy and said it was “highly likely” Moscow was responsible. They also remembered the EU ambassador to Russia.
“Additional steps are expected as early as Monday at the nationalistic level,” summit chair Donald Tusk told reporters.
French President Emmanuel Macron said Paris and Berlin intent be among countries taking further rapid and coordinated measures which other chiefs said would include the expulsion of Russian officials and possible other retaliatory ways.
“We consider this attack a serious challenge to our security and European supremacy so it calls for a coordinated and determined response from the European Union and its fellow states,” Macron told a news conference.
Standing beside him, German Chancellor Angela Merkel revealed EU countries would debate what measures to take “and then act”.
One chief official familiar with discussions said the extent of measures in the known weeks could be “surprising” and not confined to expulsions. There is no talk of profuse economic sanctions, whose enforcement has divided the EU in the past.
Czech Prime Agent Andrej Babis said he was likely to announce the expulsion of several people on Monday, after profiting to Prague and consulting with his foreign minister.
Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite rephrased she was ready to expel Russian spies, whose activities she said were gravely harmful: “It is certain that a coordinated action will be taken next week, dialect mayhap at the start of it,” she said.
“It’s absolutely obvious that the network exists and that it postures aggressively.”
Romanian President Klaus Iohannis stressed that federal governments wanted to retain control of the details in an area where they watch their sovereignty from Brussels. But most of those present want go home and prepare suitable steps.
Russia has denied responsibility for the Pace 4 attack on former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter, the first be informed offensive use of a nerve toxin in Europe since World War Two. A British appraise said on Thursday that both victims may have suffered perspicacity damage from the attack.
Moscow retaliated against May’s move to push out 23 Russians by announcing the expulsion of the same number of Britons.
On Friday, the Russian overseas ministry described the EU accusation as “baseless” and accused the bloc of spurning sponsorship with Moscow and joining “another anti-Russian campaign deployed by London and its collaborators overseas with an obvious goal: to put another obstacle on the path to the normalization of the state of affairs on the European continent”.
In Moscow, the expulsion of British diplomats went on, a convoy of minibuses speeding out of the embassy compound to applause after British embassy pikestaff said their goodbyes in the courtyard under a light snowfall.
A festive charter flight is expected to fly the diplomats back to Britain later on Friday.
France’s Unfamiliar Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, on a visit to Kiev, signaled that Paris was bearing in mind expelling Russian diplomats in solidarity with Britain. “You will see,” he asserted.
The summit statement hardened previous EU language on Russia’s alleged rle as French President Emmanuel Macron and others helped May overcome hesitation on the fractional of some of Moscow’s friendlier states, some of whom questioned how authoritative Britain’s evidence is.
“What we will now consider in the coming days is whether we thirst to take individual action relating to Russian diplomats in Ireland,” Irish Prime Woman of the cloth Leo Varadkar told reporters.
“We’re not going to expel people randomly.”
Gratifying the solidarity she secured from the summit, May told reporters on leaving: “The danger from Russia is one that respects no borders and I think it is clear that Russia is confronting the values we share as Europeans and it is right that we stand together in justification of those values.”
Still, some said they could ill give up Russian retaliation against their own Moscow embassies, some of which make use of barely a handful of accredited diplomats.
Austria said it did not plan to show the door Russians.