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Baltics, Poland summon Russian ambassadors over spy attack


A police officer guards outside the Russian Foreign Ministry headquarters in Moscow on March 21, 2018 as foreign dipomatic staff arrive to attend a meeting with the ministry’s experts on the poisoning of former double agent Sergei Skripal in an English city this month. / AFP PHOTO / Yuri KADOBNOV

Poland and Baltic states Latvia and Lithuania on Monday summoned the Russian ambassadors to their countries, as international pressure builds on Moscow over the poisoning of a former Russian spy in England.

Latvia on Friday had said it would expel “one or several” Russian diplomats over the nerve agent attack on Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia, while fellow NATO and EU members Lithuania and Poland were also expected to follow suit.

The moves come after Britain, which blames Russia for the poisoning, expelled 23 Russian diplomats they said were spies and pressed EU allies to follow suit despite Moscow’s warning against confrontational steps.


“The Russian Federation’s ambassador has been summoned to the Latvian foreign ministry today, and later there will be a public announcement,” ministry deputy press secretary Vita Dobele told AFP.

In Poland, Russian ambassador Sergei Andreev was called to the foreign ministry in Warsaw, which has announced a press conference for 1300 GMT.

“No comment. The information will be conveyed by the Polish foreign ministry,” a smiling Andreev told reporters while leaving the ministry.

Pressed by journalists, he added that he was staying in Poland but said “we’ll see” when asked about the fate of other Russian diplomats in Warsaw.

Lithuanian foreign ministry spokeswoman for her part told AFP: “I can confirm Russian ambassador is summoned to the foreign ministry,” but refused to elaborate.

No press briefing is planned in Vilnius, but diplomatic sources say the ambassador will be informed of the expulsion of several diplomats.

Fellow Baltic country Estonia refused to confirm or deny whether its Russian ambassador was summoned, but foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Belovas said the minister would give a press conference on the Salisbury attack later Monday.

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