USA expels 60 Russian intelligence officials; orders closure of Seattle Consulate

Russian electoral officials have officially declared incumbent President Vladimir Putin the winner of last Sunday's election. The Centra


Australia expelled two Russian diplomats Tuesday in response to the "shocking" Skripal attack, which Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said was part of "a pattern of reckless and deliberate conduct by the Russian state that constitutes a growing threat to worldwide security".

Before the USA expulsion, Britain ordered almost two dozen Russian diplomats to leave. "The poisoning in the United Kingdom that has kind of led to today's announcement was a very brazen action".

But Trump made no public appearances Monday and said nothing himself about the attack or the expulsions, leaving it to administration officials and spokesmen to brief reporters and issue statements. Ukraine ordered 13 Russian diplomats to leave, and Canada expelled seven.

British police say the poisoning of a former Russian spy and his daughter in Salisbury, southern England, is being treated as attempted murder.

That Britain has been able to persuade such a diverse range of countries - ranging from Germany, France and Italy to Canada and Ukraine, who are not even members of the European Union - must count as a triumph for British foreign policy, especially for Theresa May and Boris Johnson.

According to RT news, Germany, France and Poland have expelled four diplomats each, their respective foreign ministries confirmed on Monday, while The Netherlands, Denmark and Italy will expel two diplomats each, their foreign ministries said.

Moscow vowed that this "unfriendly step by this group of countries will not pass without trace and we will respond to it".

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The governing body for Australian football said that as far as it was concerned, the World Cup was going ahead as planned.

HORSLEY: British Prime Minister Theresa May praised the solidarity and said the Western allies are not going to tolerate Russia's efforts to flout global law.

Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson also praised the "extraordinary worldwide response" by the UK's allies.

British Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson too hailed the support for Britain.

Poland: Poland's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said it would expel four diplomats and said the attack showed how "a similar immediate threat to the territory and citizens of European Union and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation member states can happen anywhere".

Tom Tugendhat, a Tory and the hawkish chairman of the Commons select committee on foreign affairs, hailed "a good day for the British people. We're very heartened that it comes in conjunction with over a dozen allies, both in North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and European Union". "Thank you to all our friends".

The U.S. expulsion order, announced by administration officials, includes 12 people identified as Russian intelligence officers who have been stationed at the United Nations in NY, and also closes the Russian Consulate in Seattle.

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Engel added, however, that the USA action only underscored "the administration's weak response to Russia's ongoing attack right here in the United States", referring to the allegations of Russian "meddling" in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

Monday's expulsions appear to involve the largest number of Russians kicked out of the United States since 1986, when the Reagan administration expelled 55.

"We assess that more than 130 people in Salisbury could have been potentially exposed to this nerve agent", May said. British authorities, however, have refused to provide Moscow with any sample of the alleged agent, as required by the rules set by the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), or to the UN Organization for the Prevention of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).

"Despite a bright opening in the United States, with Wall Street seeing early gains of over 1.5pc, increased geopolitical tensions with Russian Federation ensured that volatility was alive and kicking", said Fiona Cincotta, senior market analyst at City Index.

"This is an attempt on the lives of Russian citizens on the territory of Great Britain", Russia's Foreign Ministry said.

It was perhaps no surprise most east European states joined in. President Barack Obama's administration expelled 35 Russian diplomats and shut down two embassy compounds that it said were used for "intelligence-related purposes" in December 2016 in response to alleged Kremlin hacking of the presidential elections won by Trump.

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