Russia expels Norway diplomat in tit-for-tat measure

Russia has decided to expel one Norwegian diplomat following Norway’s decision to expel a Russian diplomat from Oslo earlier this week, Norwegian public broadcaster NRK said on Friday.

Norway’s foreign ministry spokeswoman told the broadcaster that the expulsion of its diplomat from Russia was “unjustified”.

Norway ordered one Russian diplomat to leave Oslo on Monday in solidarity with Britain and in support of London’s standoff with Moscow over the poisoning of a former Russian spy and his daughter in Britain.

Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were found unconscious on a bench in the city of Salisbury on 4 March.

The UK government has blamed Russia for the attack.

More than 20 countries have expelled Russian envoys in solidarity with the UK. Among them is the US, which earlier this week ordered 60 diplomats to leave and closed the Russian consulate general in Seattle.

In response Russia declared 58 US diplomats in Moscow and two in the city of Yekaterinburg to be “persona non grata”, the Interfax news agency reported. Mr Lavrov said other countries that expelled Russians could expect Moscow to respond in kind.
Mr Lavrov said the US ambassador had been informed of the “retaliatory measures”, including “the expulsion of the equivalent number of diplomats and our decision to withdraw permission for the functioning of the US consulate general in Saint Petersburg”.

Later, a US state department spokeswoman said Russia’s actions showed it was not interested in good relations with other countries and the US reserved the right to take further action.

“Russia has decided to further isolate itself. We’re reviewing options,” Heather Nauert told reporters.

Russia has vehemently denied any role in the Salisbury attack. Mr Skripal remains in a critical but stable condition. His daughter’s condition is said to be improving – separate sources told BBC that Ms Skripal was conscious and talking.

Here is a breakdown of the number of Russian diplomats each country has vouched to expel.
European Union member states:
France – 4
Poland – 4
Germany – 4
Lithuania – 3
Czech Republic – 3
Denmark – 2
Italy – 2
Spain – 2
Netherlands – 2
Estonia – 1
Latvia – 1
Sweden – 1
Belgium – 1
Ireland – 1
Finland – 1
Romania – 1
Croatia – 1
Hungary – 1
Ireland – 1
Total: 36

Non-EU European states:
Ukraine – 13
Moldova – 3
Albania – 2
Norway – 1
Macedonia – 1
Georgia – 1
Total: 21

Other countries:
US – 60
Canada – 4
Australia – 2
Total: 66

NATO:
NATO – 7