ST. PETERSBURG, Russia (AP) – 23:29
Cropped Photo: Wanwa / Wikipedia / CC BY-SA 3.0 / MGN
Romania's Foreign Minister says Russia has "a very solid presence" of spies in Romania, in unusually blunt remarks about alleged Russian espionage.
Foreign Minister Teodor Melescanu said Friday: "I do not know in numbers, but we can feel a very solid presence" of Russian spies.
It was the first direct comment by a senior Romanian official on the subject.
The relations between Romania and Russia, which are generally cool, continued to worsen this week after Romania expelled a Russian diplomat for annoying Sergei Skripal for his nerve agent attack. Russia reacted in the same way.
Russia's Ambassador to Romania, Valery Kuzmin, described the expulsion of Russian diplomats as a "manifestation of collective political madness", but Melescanu responded Friday that "insanity was the attack in Salisbury."
Melescanu headed Romania espionage agency from 201
The Russian Foreign Ministry says a state-owned airline Aeroflot is being searched by the police at a London airport.
Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova Freitag said the British authorities did not give a reason for the search, which she called "the latest provocation".
The tensions between London and Moscow are high in the dispute over the nerve poisoning of a former Russian double agent and his daughter. Great Britain blames Russia for poisoning.
Each country has expelled 23 diplomats from the other country. Russia further escalated its reaction on Friday and called on the UK to reduce the number of its diplomats in Moscow to the level that Russia has in London. This number was not immediately clear.
Zakharova did not specify the London airport where the search took place, but a Heathrow-to-Moscow flight online had delayed its expected arrival by about three hours.
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The Russian Foreign Ministry accuses US intelligence agencies of recruiting Russian diplomats expelled by the US in a diplomatic conflict over the poisoning of an ex-spy in the UK.
The Ministry said on Friday a "sharp increase in provocative actions against Russian diplomats" following the US decision earlier this week to order 60 Russian diplomats.
American intelligence agencies have made "desperate efforts" to offer cooperation offers to the displaced diplomats. The ministry described the alleged US rapprochements as "cynical and disgusting," adding that they had failed.
Two dozen countries ordered more than 150 Russian diplomats in a solidarity broadcast with Britain over the nervous attack on ex-spy Sergei Skripal. Moscow rejects the participation and has responded.
German Foreign Minister Heiko Mass says that his country remains "ready for dialogue" with Russia – but stresses that the expulsion of four Russian diplomats was the right thing to do.
Maas says Friday that Russia has repatriated four German embassy employees in retaliation. He said the move was "forever" unsurprising. He says: "We have not made the decision to expel the Russian diplomats lightly."
The Minister says that Germany's reaction to the poisoning of a former Russian intelligence official in London is a necessary and appropriate political signal, in solidarity with Great Britain and because the Russians have rejected any clarification of the matter. "
Maas said nonetheless that Germany was ready" to work for a constructive future between our countries. "
The Russian Foreign Ministry reports that it is the ambassadors of most countries who have ordered the expulsion of Russian diplomats that an equal number of their diplomats have been declared as persona non grata.
A statement by the ministry said on Friday that the ambassadors from 23 countries originated Russians in connection with the poisoning of a former Russia's double agent and daughter in the UK expelled Russia on Thursday, expelling 60 US diplomats and closing the Consulate in St. Petersburg in retaliation for Washington's move.
The countries informed on Friday about expulsions from Australia, Albania , Germany, Denmark, Ireland, Spain, Italy, Canada, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Moldova , the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania, Ukraine, Finland, France, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Sweden and Estonia
It said that Russia would take into account mirror references of diplomats from Belgium, Hungary Georgia and Montenegro
In the The statement was not mentioned by NATO, which lists seven Russians.
In a diplomatic dispute between Russia and West, Consulate of the US Consulate in St Petersburg has paused for a pizza.
A delivery van delivered more than 20 pizzas to the Consulate on Friday, closing Moscow in the worsening diplomatic war between Russia and the West. The closure of the consulate in Russia's second-largest city reflects the US move to close the Russian consulate in Seattle.
Two dozen countries, including the US and many EU countries, and NATO this week have ordered more than 150 Russian diplomats a demonstration of solidarity with Britain over the poisoning of Russian ex-spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter, London responsible for Russia. Moscow has vehemently denied involvement in the attack of the neurologists and announced the expulsion of the same number of diplomats from each nation.
Bulgaria's prime minister says his country will not drive out Russian diplomats in response to the nerve agents' attack on an ex-spy in Britain.
Boyko Borissov has said after a meeting of the Security Council, his government is looking forward to further evidence of the attack on the ex-spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia
The government has decided that Bulgaria will initially focus on the full support for Britain, which had already been announced at the European Council, and recalled its ambassador from Moscow for consultation.
Borisov said that the current rotating presidency of the EU should keep communication channels with Russia open.
Bulgaria, once Moscow's closest ally, is still heavily dependent on Russian gas supplies (19659006) ___
British officials say Russian command to reduce Britain's diplomatic presence in Moscow is " regrettable "but had been foreseen.
The Russian Foreign Ministry says it has ordered Britain to reduce the number of its diplomats in Moscow to the level that Russia has in London.
A statement issued by the Foreign Ministry on Friday said the Russian action "does not change the facts about the nerve agent's attack on ex-spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter."
He says there is no alternative to the conclusion that the Russian state was responsible for the attempted "murder of two people" on British soil. "
The Foreign Ministry says Russia is" a blatant violation of international law and the Chemical Weapons Convention. "
Officials refuse discuss how many diplomats may need to be removed to comply with the Russian Order
The Russian Foreign Ministry says it has ordered Britain to increase the number of its diplomats in Moscow to the level of Russia Reducing London and firing another salvo in a diplomatic war is the poisoning of an ex-Russian spy in Grossbrita nnien.
The ministry said it summoned the British ambassador Friday to give him a protest about "provocative and unfounded actions by the UK that triggered the expulsion of Russian diplomats from various nations for no reason." It said Friday that London has one month to reduce its diplomatic staff to the same number of diplomats Russia has in the UK.
This number was not immediately clear.
Two dozen countries, including the US and many EU countries and NATO, this week has more than 150 Russian diplomats in a solidarity consignment with the UK over the poisoning of Russian ex-spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter, who blamed London for Russia made, ordered. Moscow has denied the participation and announced on Thursday to expel the same number of diplomats from each nation.
The Russian Foreign Ministry says it calls on ambassadors from the countries, the Russian diplomats about the poisoning of an ex-spy in the UK, who should give them messages about Moscow's answer.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov announced on Thursday that Moscow would have the same number of diplomats from each of the nations ordering Russian diplomats. The State Department said it would summon ambassadors from these nations on Friday to announce retaliatory measures.
Earlier this week, two dozen countries, including the US and many EU states, and NATO have expelled more than 150 Russian diplomats for ex-poisoning – Spey Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia. A hospital she treated said on Thursday that the woman was improving quickly and was now in a stable condition, although her father remained in critical condition.
The Kremlin says it remains open to normalizing relations with the US and other countries, despite Moscow's consideration for the expulsion of Russian diplomats over the poisoning of a Russian ex-spy in the UK
Russian President Vladimir Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Friday that after the expulsion, Moscow is forced to take revenge from more than 150 Russian diplomats from two dozen countries, including the US and many EU countries, and NATO. Peskov said: "Russia remains open to the development of good relations."
Moscow said it would show the same number of diplomats from each country ordering Russian diplomats. He called on the US Ambassador to announce the closure of the US Consulate in St. Petersburg and the expulsion of 60 US diplomats in response to Washington's move.
US The consulate in St. Petersburg, Russia's second-largest city, is preparing to cease operations after the Russian government ordered the closure of the consulate.
Russia has on Thursday expelled more than 150 diplomats, including 60 Americans, announced mass executions of Russian diplomats by Western countries over the poisoning of a former Russian spy and his daughter in Britain.
Russia also ordered the closure of the US Consulate in St. Petersburg.
An Associated Press reporter on Friday saw consulate employees carry boxes out of the building and load them into a van. Several minivans drove out of the consulate while security also arrested a man throwing a paper coffee cup atop the building.