Nerve agent attack saga

LONDON – British Prime Minister Theresa May called on Tuesday for a “long-term response” by the West to the security threat from Russia as NATO followed member states in expelling Russian diplomats over the poisoning of a double agent in England.

In the most sweeping such action against Moscow since the height of the Cold War, the United States and European Union members plan to expel scores of Russian diplomats in action against the Kremlin for the nerve agent attack on Sergei Skripal and his daughter which they have blamed on Russia.

Russia, which denies any part in the March 4 attack on the Skripals, says the West’s action is a “provocative gesture” and has said it will respond.

The co-ordinated action among Western allies is seen as a huge diplomatic coup for Ms May whose country is preparing to leave the EU bloc and may have had doubts about how much support she could count on.

Speaking to senior cabinet members in London on Tuesday, Ms May said countries had acted against Russia not just out of solidarity but because they recognised the threat it posed.