Australia expels two Russian diplomats over Britain poison case | Inquirer News
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Australia expels two Russian diplomats over Britain poison case

/ 09:57 AM March 27, 2018
APTOPIX Australia Politics

Australia Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull. (AP FILE PHOTO)

Australia joined the United States as well as other British allies in expelling two Russian diplomats on Tuesday in response to a nerve-agent attack on a former spy and his daughter in England last March 4.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said the pair were “undeclared intelligence officers” and had seven days to leave.

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“This decision reflects the shocking nature of the attack, the first offensive use of chemical weapons in Europe since World War II, involving a highly lethal substance in a populated area, endangering countless other members of the community,” he said.

Turnbull said the decision followed advice from London that the substance used in the attack on Sergei Skripal and his daughter in Salisbury was a military-grade nerve agent called Novichok, a type developed by Russia.

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He called it part of “a pattern of reckless and deliberate conduct by the Russian state that constitutes a growing threat to international security”.

“Such an attack cannot be tolerated by any sovereign nation,” he added.

“We strongly support the call on Russia to disclose the full extent of its chemical weapons program in accordance with international law,” he further said.

Canberra’s response followed Washington, which ordered 60 Russians out of the country.

Canada, Ukraine, Albania, and most European Union states matched the move with smaller-scale expulsions after Britain urged allies to respond to the poisoning.

Russia has denied it was behind the attempted assassination, which left Skripal and his daughter gravely ill, in perhaps the first nerve agent attack in Europe since World War II.   /kga

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TAGS: Australia, Britian, Chemical Weapon, espionage, nerve agent, Russia, spy
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