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

Mid-Vancouver Island air quality risk very high

Residents of the mid-Island area went to bed last night and awoke… Continue reading

Rogers ‘enhances’ wireless in Qualicum Beach

Announcement part of a multi-year national network plan

‘Beauty amongst such tragedy:’ B.C. photographer captures nature’s trifecta

David Luggi’s photo from a beach in Fraser Lake shows Shovel Lake wildfire, Big Dipper and an aurora

Blue Tie Campaign set to tee off Aug. 25

Annual event is fundraiser for the Island Prostate Centre

Vancouver Island woman to attempt historic swim across Juan de Fuca Strait today

Ultra-marathon swimmer Susan Simmons to attempt to swim from Victoria to Port Angeles and back

Suspect in Spiderman suit steals camera on Vancouver Island

Suspect in red and blue “onesie” caught on surveillance footage breaking into truck in Nanaimo

B.C. team stays alive in Little League World Series after another nail-biter

Surrey-based squad scored a 6-4 win over Mexico reps in Williamsport on Monday

Zeballos wildfire not getting any closer to town – BC Wildfire Service

Authorities optimistic about Zeballos; choppers grounded due to heavy smoke

Kids, seniors at risk as smoke from distant fires hangs over parts of B.C.

B.C. Centre for Disease Control says children’s lungs don’t fully develop until about age 10

B.C. mother charged in 7-year-old daughter’s death appears in court

The 36-year-old mother, of Langley’s Aaliyah Rosa, has been charged with second-degree murder

VIDEO: Teen soccer phenomenon Alphonso Davies to visit B.C. kids camp

The 17-year-old Vancouver Whitecap player is one of the youngest players in MLS history

New plan to lift more than two million people past the poverty line

Anti-poverty strategy will aim for 50 per cent cut in low-income rates: source

Liberals scrap lottery system for reuniting immigrants with their parents

Lottery for parent sponsorship to be replaced, more applications to be accepted

Most Read