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Nato withdraws accreditation of seven staff at organisation's Russian Mission

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Nato withdraws accreditation of seven staff at organisation's Russian Mission

Nato Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg
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Nato's Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has announced the alliance is to withdraw the accreditation of seven Russian staff at Moscow's mission to the military body.

He also said the mission's size is to be restricted to a maximum of 20 staff.

It's the latest punitive response by the West to the poisoning of former spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter.

"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 behaviousr by Russia," he said. "We have seen the illegal annexaton of Crimea, we have seen cyber attacks, we have seen hybrid tactics and the willingness to use military force against neighbours."

The Nato move follows the expulsion of over 140 Russian officials by 25 Nato allies and their partners.

This includes 60 Russian diplomats by the US, while Canada and 20 European states including France, Gerrmany and Ukarine expelled over 50 more.

British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said the explusion were a result of countries suddenly realising that this could hapen in their own towns, in their own cities.

In an interview with Britain's public broadcaster the BBC, he said "they suddenly could see that this was a new kind of threat and that Russia was behaving in a particularly reckless way, and particularly contemptuous of civilised norms."

The Kremlin has accused Britain of whipping up an anti-Russia campaign and has sought to cast doubt on the British analysis that Moscow was responsible for the nerve gas attack.

Russia has already ordered 23 British diplomats out of the country.

The Russian foreign ministry said the expulsions were based on alliances rather than evidence. EU leaders say it is highly likely Russia was behind the attack on Skripal and his daughter