European Union countries plan to take measures against Russia

British Prime Minister Theresa May speaks with the media as she arrives for an EU summit at the Europa building in Brussels on Friday, March 23, 2018. Leaders from the 28 European Union nations meet for a second day of an EU summit to assess the state of Brexit negotiations and the prospect of a trade war with the United States. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)

Vastavam web: Several European Union countries said today they plan to take measures against Russia over the poisoning of a former spy, and some may follow the UK’s lead in expelling Moscow’s diplomats.At a summit in Brussels, the 28 EU leaders agreed with Britain that it is “highly likely Russia is responsible” for the nerve-agent attack on Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia. They remain unconscious in critical condition.The president of Lithuania said today that individual EU countries plan to take their own actions against Russia within days.

Dalia Grybauskaite said that “from the beginning of next week, a lot of countries, we will go for our national measures.” Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Artyom Kozhin said Russia had not been approached by other countries about potential expulsions.Britain and Russia have expelled 23 of each other’s diplomats since the attack, which has sparked an east-west diplomatic crisis reminiscent of the Cold War.Britain says the 23 expelled Russians, who left London earlier this week, were undeclared intelligence agents.Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said his country would conduct a security assessment of Russian diplomats with a view to possibly expelling those who are not legitimate.

“We will make that decision, I would say, in the early part of next week,” he said.Danish Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen said his country would also consider “whether we should take unilateral steps.” The EU leaders’ statements came after a summit dinner where May shared information about why Britain is convinced Moscow was behind the attack, including the type of poison used “a Soviet-developed nerve agent known as Novichok” and intelligence that Russia has produced it within the past decade.

May said that since the incident Britain had been “sharing on intelligence channels what intelligence we can share with our colleagues.” “What is crucial is that there was recognition around the table last night about the threat that Russia poses,” May said.