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Russia expels 60 US diplomats in diplomatic ‘tit-for-tat’

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MOSCOW — Russia has ordered 60 US diplomats to leave by April 5 and close the US consulate in St. Petersburg, in a response mirroring the mass expulsion of Russian diplomats initiated by the US and UK, the Foreign Ministry says

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said it had declared persona non grata 58 diplomats in Moscow and two general consulate officials in Yekaterinburg in the row over the poisoning of former Russian double-agent Sergei Skripal on March 4.

US ambassador to Moscow, Jon Huntsman, has been summoned to the Foreign Ministry and told the news by deputy FM Sergey Ryabkov, Lavrov said at the press conference following a meeting with the special UN envoy for Syria Staffan De Mistura.

Moments before the ministry announcement, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Russia would respond in kind to the mass expulsion of diplomats by Western governments which include, apart from the United States and Britain, most member states of NATO and the European Union.

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The other countries affected are France, Germany and Poland would each have four of their diplomats in Moscow sent home, Ukraine would forfeit 13 diplomats, and Denmark, Albania and Spain would each have two of their embassy staff expelled.

Russia has already retaliated in kind after Britain initially expelled 23 diplomats.

The White House said Moscow’s decision marked a further deterioration in the US-Russia relationship.

“Russia’s response was not unanticipated and the United States will deal with it,” the White House said in a statement without elaborating.

The US State Department, however, indicated earlier that Russia’s decision to expel the diplomats showed Moscow was not interested in diplomacy, and Washington reserved the right to take further action.

The attack on 66-year-old Mr Skripal and his daughter, which Britain has blamed on Russian President Vladimir Putin and said was caused by a Soviet-era nerve agent Novichok left on the door of their home in England, has driven relations between Russia and the West to a new post-Cold War low.

Russia has denied involvement in the attack on the Skripals and said it suspected the British secret services were trying to frame Russia to stoke anti-Russian hysteria.

Agencies

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Dozen injured as police baton charge protesters

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JUMLA — Police resorted to baton charge after intense protests from students and locals on Thursday in suuport od agitating Dr Govind KC at Karnali Academy of Health Science premises.

The government has prewpared to airlift Dr Govinda KC, who has been staging a hunger strike at Karnali Academy of Health Sciences in Jumla, adn sent a speicial team anf Nepal Army helicopter from Nepalgunf.

Protests then have erupted at the vicinity of the institution.

The Karnali province government official’s team had reached KAHS to make preparation to send Dr Govinda KC to Kathmandu for medical treatment, forcefully, if necessary.

Karnali CM and Law Minister were barred from seeing the agitating doctor by the students inside the hospital premises and were met with protest outside as they were exiting the academy.

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Meanwhile, over a dozen students and doctors have been injured in the police lathicharge. Students as well as locals are protesting against the government’s move to airlift Dr KC to Kathmandu demanding the government to carry out talks and fulfil Dr KC’s demand in Jumla itself, before taking him to Kathmandu.

The security personnel have also misbehaved with the members of media and threatened to vandalise their equipment if they took photographs of the incident.

After dozens being injured, Dr KC has agreed to come to Kathmandu.

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