EU recalls Russia ambassador after UK nerve agent attack

The EU has recalled its ambassador from Moscow after agreeing it was 'highly likely' Russia was responsible for Sergei Skripal's nerve attack in the UK 

Theresa May with the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, and the French president, Emmanuel Macron (photo: The Guardian)
Theresa May with the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, and the French president, Emmanuel Macron (photo: The Guardian)

The EU has recalled its ambassador from Moscow after leaders on the continent agreed it was “highly likely” Russia was responsible for the Russian spy’s nerve attack in the UK.

Several EU member states were also poised to announce expulsions of diplomats, in a bid to dismantle Vladimir Putin’s spy network.

In a statement following an evening of talks in Brussels, the European Council of EU leaders agreed "there is no plausible alternative explanation".

Donald Tusk, the president of the European council, tweeted that all leaders agreed Russia’s responsibility for the attack was highly likely.

France, Poland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania are understood to be considering expelling Russian diplomats, as requested by the UK government, in a coordinated strike against Moscow.

The European Council statement added: "We stand in unqualified solidarity with the United Kingdom in the face of this grave challenge to our shared security."

UK PM Theresa May had said the Salisbury poisoning was "part of a pattern of Russian aggression against Europe".

May said: “The challenge of Russia is one that will endure for years to come. As a European democracy, the UK will stand shoulder to shoulder with the EU and Nato to face these threats together. United, we will succeed.”

Moscow denies responsibility for the attack on an ex-spy and his daughter.

Former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia remain in a critical but stable condition after the attack on 4 March.

Detective Sergeant Nick Bailey, who became ill after responding to the incident, is no longer in a serious condition and has been discharged from hospital.

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