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Moscow Has 'Underestimated' Us: NATO Joins Wave of Nations Giving Russian Diplomats the Boot

03-28-2018

The Trump administration is backing more action against Russia through NATO and the United Nations over a nerve agent attack earlier this month on a former Russian spy and his daughter in Salisbury, England.

On Tuesday, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg announced the organization is expelling seven staff members from the Russian mission and denying the accreditation of three others.

"I actually think that Russia has underestimated the unity of NATO allies," he said, noting the move by NATO should "send a very clear message to Russia that it has costs."

The news comes after more than 20 nations announced they're booting about 130 Russian diplomats in the wake of the March 4 nerve agent attack.

"I think we also have to understand that, of course, what triggered this was the Salisbury attack, but it is part of a broader response by NATO allies to a pattern of unacceptable and dangerous behavior by Russia," Euronews quoted Stoltenberg.

"We have seen the illegal annexation of Crimea, we have seen cyberattacks, we have seen hybrid tactics and the willingness to use military force against neighbors," he added.

Applauding the expulsions, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters, "We are certainly applying pressure on Russia, we're certainly encouraging working with our allies and partners also to do so, and I think you've seen an unprecedented number of countries and join the United States in that effort."

Meanwhile at the UN, US Ambassador Nikki Haley called out Moscow for weakening a proposed cease-fire and helping the Assad regime in its brutal assault in key parts of the country.

"I would ask my Security Council colleagues to consider whether we are wrong when we point to Russian and Iranian forces working alongside (Syrian President Bashar) Assad as being responsible for this slaughter," she said.

Haley says Russia is exploiting its seat on the UN Security Council to shield the Assad regime.

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