Tit for Tat! Russia to expel 60 United States diplomats

Tit for Tat! Russia to expel 60 United States diplomats

Tit for Tat! Russia to expel 60 United States diplomats

Former Russian military intelligence officer Skripal remains in a critical condition but his daughter is getting better, the hospital where they are being treated said on Thursday. After what the USA has described as the first chemical weapons attack in Europe since World War II, Washington kicked out 60 Russian diplomats and closed the Russian embassy in Seattle.

The last time the US expelled Russian diplomats was in December 2016, when then-president Barack Obama expelled 35 Russians he said had meddled in the presidential election that year.

The U.S. ambassador was also ordered to shut the consulate in St Petersburg, in Russia's retaliation for the biggest expulsion of diplomats since the Cold War.

Lavrov added that Russian Federation would also issue tit-for-tat responses to the other countries that have expelled diplomats in a mass show of support for Britain which has blamed Moscow for the poisoning of Skripal and his daughter Yulia with a nerve agent in the city of Salisbury.

"It's clear from the list provided to us that the Russian Federation is not interested in a dialogue on issues that matter to our two countries", State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert told reporters.

"Based on the reciprocity principle, as a retaliatory measure, 58 employees of the US Embassy in Moscow and two staff members of the Consulate-General in Yekaterinburg have been declared personae non gratae for the activities incompatible with their diplomatic status", Russia's foreign ministry said.

Earlier in the day, U.S. Ambassador to Russia Jon Huntsman was summoned to the Russian Foreign Ministry and was given a note of protest over the recent U.S. expulsion of 60 Russian diplomats and the shutdown of the Russian consulate general in Seattle.

Russian Federation has already retaliated in kind after Britain initially expelled 23 diplomats. Officials in Moscow accused London and Washington of pressuring other nations to sign up to an worldwide campaign of "Russophobia" which, they said, could drag the world into a new Cold War.

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Russian Federation says Britain has failed to produce any persuasive evidence of Russia's guilt.

Russia has denied involvement in the attack on the Skripals and says it suspects the British secret services are trying to frame Russia to stoke anti-Russian hysteria.

On March 12, Nikolai A. Glushkov, a former Russian business executive and critic of the government, died suddenly at his home in London, and police are treating the case as a murder investigation.

"We are counting on our Western partners not evading an honest conversation", Lavrov said.

Lavrov said Russian Federation was also mulling tit-for-tat responses to the other countries that have expelled its diplomats.

"We stand behind the decision to recall the European Union ambassador, but we will not take any national measures", Chancellor Sebastian Kurz and Foreign Minister Karin Kneissl said in a joint statement, according to the Agence France-Presse.

After the poisoning, Britain reacted by announcing it would expel 23 Russian diplomats, suspend high-level diplomatic contact with Moscow and not send royals to the 2018 football World Cup hosted by Russia.

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