Russia expels 60 US diplomats in tit-for-tat measure

Russia has expelled 60 US diplomats and closed the St Petersburg consulate in a tit-for-tat response to US action over a spy poisoning case in the UK.

Russia’s foreign minister said other countries that expelled Russians could expect a “symmetrical” response.

It comes amid a row over the nerve agent attack on a former Russian spy and his daughter in southern England.

Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were found unconscious on a bench in the city of Salisbury on 4 March.

The UK government has blamed Russia for the attack.

More than 20 countries have expelled Russian envoys in solidarity with the UK. Among them is the US, which earlier this week ordered 60 diplomats to leave and closed the Russian consulate general in Seattle.

In response Russia declared 58 US diplomats in Moscow and two in the city of Yekaterinburg to be “persona non grata”, the Interfax news agency reported.

Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said US ambassador Jon Huntsman had been informed of the “retaliatory measures”.

“As for the other countries, everything will also be symmetrical in terms of the number of people from their diplomatic missions who will be leaving Russia,” he said.

Later, a US state department spokeswoman said Russia’s actions showed it was not interested in good relations with other countries and the US reserved the right to take further action.

Russia has vehemently denied any role in the Salisbury attack. Mr Skripal remains in a critical but stable condition. His daughter’s condition is said to be improving.

 

Source: BBC

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