US President Trump has made an unprecedented order by expelling 60 Russian diplomats in a show of solidarity with the UK, including closing a Russian Consulate in Seattle over the nerve agent attack on former spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia.
The UK has put the blame of the attack on British soil solely at the feet of Russia, going as far as stating this is believed to be a state sanctioned attack by the Kremlin, possibly, even with the authorisation of Putin himself. The UK has been looking to NATO and EU allies for a unified support since the attack and have already expelled 23 diplomats, which the UK government believe to be Russian intelligence officers.
The US government said the decision today was the US acting “in conjunction” with NATO allies. Also today a sweep of countries across the EU have also stood in solidarity with the UK and started the expulsion of Russian diplomats.
The US was the first country to stand with the UK after the attack and directly blame Russia for the use of a nerve agent in the attempt against the lives of Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia, on March 4, that has left both in critical condition in hospital.
The use of a military-grade nerve agent sits with the “ongoing pattern of destabilising activities around the world” by Russia, the statement reads.
The US will also close the Russian consulate in Seattle, due to its proximity with a naval base and a Boeing manufacturing site that produces air force equipment.
The EU recalled its ambassador to Moscow last week, Canada has just joined the growing expulsion of Russian diplomats with expelling four from Canada, Poland, Latvia, Lithuania, and Moldova are all speaking to their respective ambassadors today.
Russia has consistently denied any involvement in the attack on the Skripals and demanded access to the UK’s investigation. The Kremlin expelled 23 UK diplomats on March 17 in a tit-for-tat response to London. On 25th March.
The Russian embassy in Washington issued a statement calling for calm.