Update: RIA Novosti reports an unnamed foreign ministry official protested the decision by EU, NATO nations to expel envoys, and confirmed that Russia will respond to each country expelling diplomats, warning that the "expulsions won't go unanswered."
“Unfriendly” action won’t be left unanswered.
U.K.’s allies are “blindly following” principle of Euro-Atlantic unity at the expense of common sense.
Additionally, Russia's ambassador to Washington, Anatoly Antonov, said that, with regard to the US response, "US only understand force."
"I mentioned in my statement in the State Department that I consider these actions counterproductive," Antonov said.
"I said that the United States took a very bad step by cutting what very little still remains in terms of Russian-American relations."
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President Trump has reportedly ordered the expulsion of 60 Russians from the United States on Monday, including 12 people identified as Russian intelligence officers who have been stationed at the United Nations in New York, in response to Russia’s alleged poisoning of a former Russian spy in Britain.
As The New York Times reports, the expulsion order, announced by administration officials, also closes the Russian consulate in Seattle.
The Russians and their families have seven days to leave the United States, according to officials.
The expulsions are the toughest action taken against the Kremlin by President Trump, who has been criticized for not being firm enough with President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia.
In a call with reporters, senior White House officials said that the move was to root out Russians actively engaging in intelligence operations against the country, and to show that the United States would stand with NATO allies.
The officials said that the closure of the consulate in Seattle was ordered because of its proximity to a U.S. naval base.
Worst. Putin Puppet. Ever.
The expulsion of 60 diplomats is the most sweeping since the Reagan administration ordered 55 diplomats out of the country in 1986.
As The Washington Post reports, a senior administration official, who was only authorized to discuss the actions on the condition of anonymity, commented:
"This was a reckless attempt by the government to murder a British citizens and his daughter on British soil with a nerve agent,"
"It cannot go unanswered."
The White House has issue an official statement:
Statement from the Press Secretary on the Expulsion of Russian Intelligence Officers
Today President Donald J. Trump ordered the expulsion of dozens of Russian intelligence officers from the United States and the closure of the Russian consulate in Seattle due to its proximity to one of our submarine bases and Boeing. The United States takes this action in conjunction with our NATO allies and partners around the world in response to Russia's use of a military-grade chemical weapon on the soil of the United Kingdom, the latest in its ongoing pattern of destabilizing activities around the world.
Today's actions make the United States safer by reducing Russia's ability to spy on Americans and to conduct covert operations that threaten America's national security. With these steps, the United States and our allies and partners make clear to Russia that its actions have consequences. The United States stands ready to cooperate to build a better relationship with Russia, but this can consequences. The United States stands ready to cooperate to build a better relationship with Russia, but this can only happen with a change in the Russian government's behavior.
The State Department's official statement:
Holding Russia Accountable for its Destabilizing Behavior
On March 4, Russia used a military-grade nerve agent to attempt to murder a British citizen and his daughter in Salisbury.
This attack on our Ally the United Kingdom put countless innocent lives at risk and resulted in serious injury to three people, including a police officer. In response to this outrageous violation of the Chemical Weapons Convention and breach of international law, today the United States will expel 48 Russian officials serving at Russia's bilateral mission to the United States. We will also require the Russian government to close its Consulate General in Seattle by April 2, 2018. We take these actions to demonstrate our unbreakable solidarity with the United Kingdom, and to impose serious consequences on Russia for its continued violations of international norms.
Separately, we have begun the process of expelling 12 intelligence operatives from the Russian Mission to the United Nations who have abused their privilege of residence in the United States.
The United States calls on Russia to accept responsibility for its actions and to demonstrate to the world that it is capable of living up to its international commitments and responsibilities as a member of the UN Security Council to uphold.
The actions, which could prompt retaliatory strikes against U.S. diplomats in Russia, come in contrast to President Trump's efforts to foster a warm relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin. In a phone call to Putin last week, Trump rejected the counsel of his national security advisers and congratulated Putin on his reelection victory.
Deep State 1 - 0 Trump.
"To the Russian government, we say, when you attack our friend you will face serious consequences," said a senior administration official.
"As we have continually stressed to Moscow, the door to dialogue is open." But, this official continued, Russia must "cease its recklessly aggressive behavior."
Last week EU leaders declared in a statement that it was “highly likely” there was “no plausible alternative explanation” other than Russia being to blame.
Today, EU Council President Tusk announces that 14 EU nations will expel Russian diplomats...
“Already today 14 member states have decided to expel Russian diplomats; additional measures, including further expulsions within the common EU framework, are not to be excluded in the coming days and weeks”
“We remain critical of the actions of the Russian government”
So far today, the number of Russian diplomats being expelled:
US - 60
Ukraine - 13
France - 4
Germany - 4
Poland - 4
Canada - 4
Lithuania - 3 (targets 21)
Czech Republic - 3
Holland - 2
Denmark - 2
Italy - 2
Spain - 2
Australia - 2
Latvia - 1
Sweden - 1
Estonia - 1
Romania - 1
Finland - 1
Croatia - 1
Norway - 1
For now, the following EU nations have not said they'll expel Russian diplomats: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Luxembourg, Malta, Portugal, Slovakia, and Slovenia.
German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, weighing in: “It’s clear that this attack can’t remain without consequences.”
And follows Britain's expulsion of 23 Russian diplomats last week. UK's Boris Johnson is cock-a-hoop...
Today’s extraordinary international response by our allies stands in history as the largest collective expulsion of Russian intelligence officers ever & will help defend our shared security. Russia cannot break international rules with impunity— Boris Johnson (@BorisJohnson) March 26, 2018
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Russia Says EU Shows ‘Perverted’ U.K. Solidarity
The Kremlin is not impressed with the EU. The countries planning to expel Russian diplomats in support of the U.K. are “like loyal subjects giving political support to London,” Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Facebook.
Russia Warns of Tit-for-Tat Retaliation
Russia warned that it won’t take any expulsions lying down. The Kremlin hasn’t had any official information on reported U.S. plans to expel diplomats and will act reciprocally if such actions take place, Vladimir Putin’s spokesman told reporters on a conference call.
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President Trump is expected to make an announcement on the expulsions at 3pmET.
For now the Ruble is the most affected...