US Expels 60 Russian Diplomats Over UK Poison Attack

The Washington Post reports:

The Trump administration on Monday ordered the expulsion of 60 Russian intelligence and diplomatic officers in New York and Washington and the closure of the Russian consulate in Seattle in retaliation of the poisoning of a former Russian spy in Britain. Twelve Russian diplomats at the United Nations in New York and 48 at the Russian embassy in Washington face expulsion by the U.S. government for what senior administration officials described as covert intelligence operations that undermine U.S. national security.

The U.S. government also is closing the Russian consulate in Seattle, which senior administration officials said they believe has served as a key outpost in Russia’s intelligence operations. The moves announced Monday are the Trump administration’s toughest response yet to the March 4 nerve-agent attack in Salisbury by Russia that critically injured a former spy, Sergei Skripal, and his daughter, Yulia.

Buzzfeed News reports:

EU member states will expel about 30 Russian diplomats from their respective countries. An initial set of measures will see 14 of the EU’s 28 member states — including Germany and France, which will expel four diplomats each — expel a total of 27 to 28 diplomats. The Czech Republic and Lithuania are expected to both expel three diplomats, Italy, Spain, Denmark and the Netherlands two each, while Latvia, Romania, Croatia, Hungary and Estonia will all be expelling at least one Russia diplomat.

BuzzFeed News understands that Poland will also participate in the expulsions but has yet to indicate precise figures, while Ireland will tomorrow announce its measures tomorrow. The National Security Council on Friday recommended expelling Russian diplomats to Trump on Friday, after a meeting on Wednesday, Bloomberg reported. The move comes after Trump went against the advice of his national security advisers not to congratulate Putin on his reelection.

UNIAN reports:

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Sunday a mirror response will be applied if Russian diplomats are expelled from the United States. “We are used to not be guided by media reports. We have not yet heard or seen any official statements from Washington about the alleged expulsion of our diplomats. We will be guided by facts and statements voiced by officials, not by media reports. Of course, the mirror response will be applied in each such case,” Peskov told journalists, according to an UNIAN correspondent in Russia.

NOTE: The US currently has no Secretary of State.