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France says expulsions of Russians shows ‘European solidarity’

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said Monday that the expulsion of Russian diplomats by EU states over the poisoning of an ex-spy in Britain was a display of “European solidarity”.

“Our posture is, firstly, a posture of solidarity, but at the same time, it is a show of determined rejection of the use of any sort of chemical weapon,” Le Drian said during a visit to Ramallah in the Israeli-occupied West Bank.

“I believe that the expulsions which have been decided upon are the proof of strong European solidarity,” he said, standing next to his Palestinian counterpart Riyad al-Malki.

London last week kicked out 23 Russian diplomats and urged allies to respond to the poisoning of double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia.

Sixteen European Union countries, including France, responded on Monday by giving at least 30 Russian envoys notice to quit.

The United States ordered out 60 alleged Russian agents working under diplomatic cover.

Britain says the poison attack used a highly-potent nerve agent called Novichok, developed by the Soviet government towards the end of the Cold War.

Moscow denies it was responsible for the attack.