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At least 10 EU nations to expel Russian diplomats in spy row

Vladimir Putin
Russian intelligence agents and diplomats across the European Union will be expelled next week in response to the use of a nerve agent in Salisbury, described by Emmanuel Macron as an “attack on European sovereignty”, the Guardian said.
At least 10 EU member states will order Russian officials to leave, with the number of countries answering the UK’s call for action expected to rise in the coming weeks.
“What happened in Great Britain has clearly never been seen before,” the French president told reporters, at the end of a summit where EU leaders agreed unanimously that Moscow was “highly likely” to be responsible for the assault. “It is an aggression against the security and the sovereignty of an ally, today a member of the European Union, which demands a reaction.”
The German chancellor, Angela Merkel, said she agreed there should be further measures, beyond the recall earlier on Friday of the EU’s ambassador to Moscow.
France and Germany were among the first countries to back the UK and do not expect the investigation by experts at the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) to change their conclusions.
Macron said the OPCW work would be “useful, but is not going to change our vision of things”.
Donald Tusk, the European council president, said the Russians had stooped to a level to which the EU could never follow, but that it was up to leaders to do what they could to illustrate Europe’s condemnation.
The former Polish prime minister conceded there were different interests and attitudes to Russia among the member states, and not all would take measures against the Kremlin, but said the bloc’s response would still be without precedent.
Tusk said: “It is very difficult to prepare an adequate reaction to this kind of behaviour like a nerve agent attack. We will never have the real chance to respond adequately because we are completely different to the perpetrators of this attack, if you know what I mean.