Russia was in a retaliatory mode as it announced on Thursday that it is also expelling 60 U.S. diplomats and closing the American consulate in St. Petersburg.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the move against the U.S. “include the expulsion of the same number of diplomats” as the Russian envoys kicked out by President Donald Trump. Lavrov also said the retaliatory measures are not limited to the U.S. as other countries that also ordered out Russian diplomats will also face similar fightback from the Putin government.
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Russia Retaliates, Expels 60 American Diplomats After U.S. Action <a href="https://t.co/zZcZgpaUT4">https://t.co/zZcZgpaUT4</a></p>— NPR (@NPR) <a href="https://twitter.com/NPR/status/979418032907829249?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">March 29, 2018</a></blockquote> <script async src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>
Russia’s latest hostile measures are in response to the poisoning of ex-spy and daughter tandem Segei and Yulia Skripal who were found unconscious and in critical condition in the English city of Salisbury on March 4. British authorities pinned the blame on Russia for poisoning the father-and-daughter pair and claimed they carried it out with a military-grade nerve agent. Russia has vehemently rejected said accusation.
Aside from the U.S., close to two dozen other countries, many of them EU nations and NATO have also ordered more than 150 Russian diplomats out of their respective territories in a show of strong solidarity with Britain. It is being viewed as such a massive action unseen before even at the height of the Cold War.
The Russian Ministry also issued another warning that should the U.S. decide to take further “hostile actions” against Russian missions, Putin’s government will be just as ready to retaliate again. It also asked American authorities in a released statement to “come back to their senses and stop thoughtless actions to destroy bilateral relations.”
The White House has not responded yet to Russia’s latest actions.