I received the intel from some countries that the pressure on them was tremendous to toe the ‘Transatlantic’ line. Bulgarian president received huge personal pressure from the head of the EU Donald Tusk (who is from Poland). But Russian Patriarch Kirill’s recent visit made such an impression on Bulgarians that it appears to have made them courageous enough (which is unusual) to withstand pressure and refuse the expulsion of Russian diplomats. Recall how Bulgaria had caved in and blocked the lucrative South Stream despite its own national interests, just because McCain said so. Several other EU countries said no as well, most notable being Austria, whose young new president just visited Putin in Moscow. Austria has been pretty consistent in its message of balance and neutrality.
Of course, Greece and Cyprus, as well as Slovakia, also said no. Portugal and several other EU countries – same. Again, the pressure and arm-twisting was tremendous, as also is confirmed from Portugal. This pressure may continue.
Turkey and Israel are other notable countries to say no. The pressure was applied by US and UK even against African countries, some of which came out with indignation and criticism against UK/US and their pressure. Some also came out in defense of Russia. China had very harsh criticism against US/UK anti-Russian actions.
Russian FM Sergey Lavrov revealed that some EU countries (he didn’t specify which) whispered apologies to him after having announced the expulsion of Russian diplomats, saying they were forced to do so.
The pack is toeing the line for the most part, as we see. However, the cracks are showing.
From Vesti: The EU countries and their allies fell victim to a brutal attack from the UK with the support of the US. Continental Europe was required to expel Russian diplomats in solidarity with London. The Europeans who didn’t receive any proof of Russia’s guilt in the Skripals’ poisoning case had to just trust Theresa May and Boris Johnson, and expel the diplomats. In this sense, Europe would be pro-Britain.