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White House says Russia’s expulsion of US diplomats will deteriorate ties

White House says Russia’s expulsion of US diplomats will deteriorate ties

White House says Russia’s expulsion of US diplomats will deteriorate ties
March 30
13:57 2018

The White House says Russia's expulsion of US diplomats and the shuttering of one of its consulates mark a further deterioration in relations between Washington and Moscow.

Russia expelled 60 American diplomats on Thursday and announced it would eject more from other Western countries that have joined London and Washington in expelling Russian diplomats over Moscow’s alleged poisoning of a former Russian spy.

Moscow also ordered the closing of the US consulate in St Petersburg in retaliation for the closure of Russia's consulate in the US city of Seattle.

Russia has already retaliated in kind after Britain initially expelled 23 diplomats.

US President Donald Trump on Monday ordered 60 Russian diplomats that Washington considers spies to leave the country in solidarity with Britain.

“Russia's response was not unanticipated and the United States will deal with it,” the White House said in a statement Friday without elaborating.

On Thursday, the US State Department indicated that Washington could retaliate for Moscow's “regrettable, unwarranted action,” raising the possibility that the crisis could intensify.

“We reserve the right to respond further. We're reviewing our options,” said State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert.

Britain accuses Russia of carrying out a nerve agent attack on Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in the English city of Salisbury.

The Skripals are being treated in a UK hospital after they were found collapsed on a park bench.

So far, 24 European countries, the US, Canada and Australia have announced that they will be expelling 122 Russian diplomats over the coming days.

NATO also expelled seven diplomats from Russia's mission to the alliance.

It was the biggest such expulsion since the height of the Cold War era, a term that describes the tense relationship between the US and the Soviet Union from 1945 to 1989.

There are now fears of a serious diplomatic crisis and a freezing in relations between Moscow and the West, which has raised the specter of the Cold War once again.

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