Russia to expel 60 US diplomats, close American consulate: reports
Russia is set to expel 60 US diplomats and close an American consulate in the country, days after Washington did the same to Russian diplomats over Moscow's alleged role in poisoning an ex-spy in the United Kingdom (UK), said reports. Moscow's retaliatory move was reported by AFP while quoting Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.
After 21 countries expelled over 100 Russian diplomats to protest its likely act of poisoning an ex-spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia, Moscow had said it would take "appropriate" retaliatory measures against each country that took the extreme steps.
On March 26, the Donald Trump administration gave marching orders to 60 Russian diplomats stationed in the US, including 12 members of Russia's Permanent Mission to the United Nations in New York. The Russian consulate in Seattle was also closed.
The US's steps came in the wake of a number of European countries expelling Russian diplomats from their territory on the pretext that Russia has poisoned the Skripals in Salisbury in England which was seen as a violation of border and also international law.
The father-daughter duo was exposed to a nerve agent, which according to the UK, was made in Russia and hence the Kremlin was accused of attempting an assassination on foreign soil. Russia rubbished the allegations saying neither the former Soviet Union earlier nor it today had any plans to develop such a dangerous substance.
The UK then expelled 23 Russian diplomats and threatened to take more measures against Russia. The latter then retaliated by expelling an equal number of British diplomats besides ordering closing down of the British consulate in St Petersburg and British Council's offices located in Russia.