A taxi in front of the Russian Embassy in Warsaw, Poland, Monday, March 26, 2018.Russia’s Ambassador to Poland Sergei Andreev was summoned Monday to Poland’s Foreign Ministry and said he will stay in Warsaw in the coming weeks, but “we will see” about other embassy employees.(AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski)

U.S. expels 60 Russian diplomats, closes Seattle consulate

Senior Trump administration officials said all 60 Russians were spies working in the U.S. under diplomatic cover

The Trump administration expelled 60 Russian diplomats on Monday and ordered Russia’s consulate in Seattle to close, as the United States and European nations sought to jointly punish Moscow for its alleged role in poisoning an ex-spy in Britain.

Senior Trump administration officials said all 60 Russians were spies working in the U.S. under diplomatic cover, including a dozen at Russia’s mission to the United Nations. The officials said the administration was taking the action to send a message to Russia’s leaders about the “unacceptably high” number of Russian intelligence operatives in the U.S

Related: Canada expels Russian diplomats in wake of British attack

The expelled Russians will have seven days to leave the U.S, said the officials. They weren’t authorized to be identified by name and requested anonymity. They added that the Seattle consulate is a counter-intelligence concern because of its proximity to a U.S. Navy base.

Related: UK expels 23 Russian diplomats over spy poisoning

The move was one of the most significant actions President Donald Trump’s administration has taken to date to push back on Moscow and Russian President Vladimir Putin. Less than a week ago, Trump congratulated Putin by phone for his re-election but didn’t raise the spy case, renewing questions about whether the U.S. president is too soft on the Kremlin.

The U.S. actions came as more than a dozen nations, including those in Russia’s neighbourhood, were expected to announce similar steps to reduce Russia’s diplomatic presence in their countries or other actions to punish Moscow. Poland summoned Russia’s ambassador for talks, and its foreign ministry was among several in Europe planning news conferences later Monday.

Last week, EU chief Donald Tusk predicted that member states would introduce measures against Moscow over its suspected role in the spy poisoning case.

Related: US, France, Germany blame Russia for UK nerve agent attack

Britain has already expelled 23 Russian diplomats, accusing them of being undeclared intelligence agents, which led Russia to expel the same number of British diplomats. The European Union has already recalled its ambassador to Russia.

Britain has accused Moscow of perpetrating the attack. The U.S., France and Germany have agreed it’s highly likely that’s the case.

___

Josh Lederman, The Associated Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Prosecution in Colin John murder trial wrapping up in Duncan

John on trial for stabbing death in Chemainus in 2016

15 new Indigenous teacher training seats added at Cowichan VIU campus

Thorne said the new Indigenous teacher education curriculum that is planned at VIU

Breakfast with Santa a Ladysmith staple

Nearly 700 people took part in this annual charity event

Christmas comes alive in Crofton

Parade entries light up the night and rain holds off

Upset student causes safety plan to be enacted at Chemainus Elementary School

Child’s behaviour results in students being held in classrooms until order restored

VIDEO: Close encounter with a whale near Canada-U.S border

Ron Gillies had his camera ready when a whale appeared Dec. 7

B.C. Lions hire DeVone Claybrooks as head coach

Former Stampeders DC succeeds CFL legend Wally Buono

France shooting: 2 dead, several wounded in Strasbourg

A world-famous Christmas market was put on lock down on Tuesday

Canadian warship witnesses possible violations of North Korea sanctions

Crew members on HMCS Calgary took photos and collected other information

Christine Sinclair named Canadian Women’s player of the year again

This is the 14th time Sinclair has been named player of the year

B.C. man wants trapping laws changed after dog killed

Louis Seguin’s 10-month-old Australian shepherd died in a body-gripping trap last month

Nearly 8,000 homeless in B.C., first province-wide count reveals

Twenty-four seperate counts in B.C. cities found there are thousands of homeless in all corners of province

Mental health issue suspected after spike belts end Island Highway car chase

Woman in her 30s detained after Tuesday afternoon incident in Lantzville

Most Read