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Russia Retaliates, Expels 60 American Diplomats After U.S. Action

Russia’s foreign minister announced the expulsion of the officials and the closure of the U.S. consulate in St. Petersburg on Thursday

Alexander Zemlianichenko/AP
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov announced Thursday that Moscow is expelling 60 U.S. diplomats.

Days after President Trump ordered the expulsion of 60 Russian officials from the United States and the closure of the Russian Consulate in Seattle, in response to the nerve agent attack of a Russian ex-spy and his daughter in the U.K., Russia has responded in kind.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Thursday that Russia will expel 60 U.S. diplomats and also announced the closure of the U.S. Consulate in St. Petersburg in a tit-for-tat response.

Lavrov told the TASS, the Russian news agency, that the U.S. ambassador has been summoned to the Foreign Ministry to be told of the decision.

It comes after Russian diplomats in more than 20 countries have been shown the door in recent days, including across much of Europe.

On Tuesday, NATO announced it was expelling seven diplomats from Russia’s mission to the alliance.

Russia’s retaliation was expected. “Rest assured, we will respond,” Lavrov said earlier in the week. “The reason is that no one would like to tolerate such obnoxiousness, and we won’t either.”

Lavrov told TASS the U.S. has been leading a colossal blackmail campaign against Russia.

Lavrov said Thursday that Russia will react reciprocally toward all countries that have expelled Russian diplomats.

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