Donald Trump cannot ignore the Salisbury scandal, so, the United States is to expel 60 Russian diplomats.
The presidential office’s move would reduce the ability of Russia to spy on Americans, especially after the expelling 60 Russian diplomats. After that, Kremlin should understand that any “its actions have consequences”, Finacial Times reported. Last week, the UK last week threw out 23 diplomats from Russia’s embassy in London.
The Russian ambassador in Washington was informed of the expulsions on Monday morning. Individuals and their families would have seven days to leave the US, said an official. The administration was also closing the Russian consulate in Seattle.
On Monday, to show solidarity with Britain, several EU states including France, Germany and Italy said they were also throwing out Russian diplomats following the poisoning of Sergei Skripal, a former Russian agent in Salisbury earlier this month. Kremlin has denied responsibility for the Skripal attack and asked London to show the proof of the poisoning or to apologize for the insinuation.
EU countries expel the Russian diplomats
The European Council president informed that a total of 14 EU member states are showing their solidarity with the UK. According to Donal Tusk, the additional co-ordinated counter-measures by EU governments against Russia should not be excluded in the coming days and weeks.
Sergey Lavrov, the Russian foreign top diplomat, expressed the “strong protest” against the co-ordinated expulsions, calling them a “provocative gesture” which would only lead to further escalation. The Russian MFA said the expulsions would “not remain without consequences, and we will react.”
President Trump has been criticised for failing to address robustly allegations that Moscow meddled in the 2016 elections that delivered him to power, disdaining a special investigation into Russian election interference as a political “witch hunt”.
“They hid behind the veneer of diplomatic immunity,” said a senior administration official, meaning 48 persons based at the Russian mission to the US and 12 at the UN mission in New York.