By Ben Kerrigan-
Russia accuses Washington of colossal blackmail after several countries executed a mass expulsion of its diplomats in response to a nerve agent attack in the UK.
Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said blackmail of colossal nature had left “few independent countries” left in modern Europe.
Over 140 Russians have been expelled by 25 nations in what is the largest expulsion in history.
EU leaders agreed with the UK last week that it was highly likely Russia was behind the poisoning in Salisbury, southern England. Russia has denied any involvement.
Mr Lavrov said it was inevitable that there would be a response to the mass expulsion. “Certainly, we will not tolerate such impudence,” he said.
He singled out the US for blame.
“When one or two diplomats are being expelled from this or that country, all the while whispering apologies in our ear, we know for sure that this is a result of colossal pressure, colossal blackmail, which unfortunately is Washington’s main tool now on the international area,” he said.
“It is hard to escape a conclusion that we were right when we stressed several times that there remain few independent countries in the modern world, modern Europe.”