The Trump administration on Monday 26th March,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.
“This was a reckless attempt by the government to murder a British citizens and his daughter on British soil with a nerve agent,” said a senior administration official, who was only authorized to discuss the actions on the condition of anonymity. “It cannot go unanswered.”
The expulsion of 60 diplomats is the most sweeping since the Reagan administration ordered 55 diplomats out of the country in 1986.
In December 2016, the Obama administration expelled 35 suspected Russian intelligence officers in retaliation for Moscow’s interference in the U.S. presidential election.
Then last July, the Kremlin ordered the United States to cut its diplomatic staff by 755 employees in response to the passage of legislation in the U.S. Congress imposing new sanctions on Russia for its election interference.