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US expels 60 Russian diplomats over Skripal poisoning

US expels 60 Russian diplomats over Skripal poisoning

Washington: US president Donald Trump on Monday expelled 60 Russian intelligence and diplomatic officers in New York and Washington as a retaliatory move to the incident of poisoning Russian ex-spy Sergei Skripal and her daughter.

Out of the 60 Russian diplomats, 12 are stationed at the United Nations in New York and 48 diplomats are placed at the Washington D.C, as reported by the Washington Post.

Trump’s administration further ordered the closure of the Russian consulate at Seattle in the US as part of the covert intelligence operations undermining the US national security.

The Russian consulate is said to serve as the key outpost in Russia’s intelligence operations.

“This was a reckless attempt by the government to murder a British citizen and his daughter on British soil with a nerve agent, “It cannot go unanswered.” The Washington Post quoted a senior administration official as saying.

Trump’s actions are in stark contrast to his efforts to warm up with Russian President Vladimir Putin in a phone call last week to congratulate the latter on his presidential victory.

The US official further threatened Russia to face serious consequences and advised it to “cease its recklessly aggressive behaviour”.

The Russian government has been notified about the expulsion of the diplomats and has given them a period of seven days to leave the United States.

European nations are also set to announce coordinated expulsions of Russian diplomats following the nerve-agent attack in Britain.

Retired military intelligence officer Skripal, 66, and his daughter, Yulia, 33, were found slumped on a bench in Salisbury city centre on March 4. However, they remain in a critical but stable condition in hospital.

ANI