Dublin to expel Russian diplomat after poisoning

President Donald Trump points his finger as he speaks to reporters

Australia and Ireland on Tuesday joined more than 20 other nations in expelling Russian diplomats in response to the nerve agent attack on a former Russian military intelligence officer and his daughter in Britain. John McCain, R-Ariz., called it "a welcome step forward in holding Putin accountable".

There are concerns, even among those who have acted, about what Russian Federation may do next. The Polish foreign minister was expected to make an announcement later this afternoon. Verhofstadt asked. "And at the same time asking, requesting for changes in the Russian Federation society for application of the rule of law for a democracy, freedom of speech".

At least 116 alleged agents working under diplomatic cover were ordered out by 22 governments, dwarfing similar measures in even the most notorious Cold War spying disputes, and marking a British diplomatic victory. The Russian embassy in Washington asked its Twitter followers to vote on which U.S. consulate should be closed, listing those in Vladivostok, St Petersburg and Yekaterinburg as options.

"The use of chemical weapons, including the use of any toxic chemicals as weapons, by anyone, anywhere, is particularly shocking and abhorrent", he said. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov called the moves "mistaken" and said Russia's response "will be guided by the principle of reciprocity".

The Foreign Ministry said "powerful forces" in the United States and Britain were behind the attack, RIA Novosti agency reported.

"It goes without saying that this unfriendly act by this group of countries will not go without notice and we will react to it", the government department said. "There is, so far, no cyber-response, no financial response". We want to have a cooperative relationship. "This kind of multilateral expulsion is unprecedented". He has been criticised by Democrats and members of his own Republican Party for failing to be tough enough on Russia over USA allegations of Russian meddling in the US electoral system, including the 2016 presidential campaign.

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USA officials said that 48 "intelligence officers" attached to Russian diplomatic missions in the U.S. would be expelled, along with 12 accredited to the United Nations in NY.

"We also continue to support worldwide efforts to bring to justice those responsible for the downing of MH17, and we have called out unacceptable Russian action in cyberspace", said Bishop.

Skripal was granted refuge in the United Kingdom following a 2010 spy exchange between the US and Russian Federation.

In addition, Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland said four diplomatic staff at the Russian embassy in the Canadian capital of Ottawa or the consulate general in Montreal will be ordered out of the country. But after legislators passed a law last July that prevented Trump from easing sanctions without congressional approval, Putin ordered the U.S.to cut staff at its diplomatic missions in Russian Federation by 755, or almost two-thirds, by September 1.

Washington had already imposed sanctions on Russian citizens and firms for US election meddling and cyber attacks but put off targeting oligarchs and government officials close to Putin.

Information for this article was contributed by Katie Rogers and Eileen Sullivan of The New York Times; by Josh Lederman, Jill Lawless, Matthew Lee, Chris Grygiel, Vladimir Isachenkov, Raf Casert, Jennifer Peltz, Sylvia Corbett, Monika Scislowska and Rob Gillies of The Associated Press; and by Stepan Kravchenko and Ilya Arkhipov of Bloomberg News.

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