The Trump administration expelled 60 Russian diplomats and closed the Russian Consulate in Seattle as a response to the attempted murder of an ex-Russian spy who was in the United Kingdom.
Investigators say that the Russian government was involved in the attack which used a nerve-agent to poison the former Russian spy. The Kremlin has denied any involvement in the plot.
AP News reports that White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said that the measures were meant to show “Russia that its actions have consequences.”
The Trump administration says the 60 diplomats were Russian spies who were working in the United States under diplomatic cover. 12 of the diplomats worked at the United Nations, while the other 48 were employed at the Russian Embassy. Administrations officials said the decision to close the Russian Consulate in Seattle was because of its close proximity to a major naval base.
The diplomats will have seven days to leave the country.
The actions come after the British government expelled 23 Russian diplomats last week in response to the alleged Russian attack. In response, The Kremlin kicked 23 British diplomats out of the country.
The American penalties were echoed by announcements in European capitals across the continent, including those in Russia’s backyard. All told, 18 countries were ousting more than 100 Russian spies, British Prime Minister Theresa May said, in addition to 23 already kicked out by the U.K.
The list included at least 16 European Union nations, with more likely to follow. Germany, Poland and France each planned to boot four, the Czech Republic three and Italy two. Ukraine, a non-EU country with its own conflicts with Moscow, was expelling 13 Russians, President Petro Poroshenko said. All three Baltic states said they would kick diplomats out. Canada, too, said it was taking action, kicking out four and denying three who have applied to enter the country.
Almost all of the countries said publicly that the Russian diplomats they were expelling were actually spies.
Mr Americana, Overpasses News Desk
March 26th, 2018