Russian diplomats from nearly two dozen countries are facing expulsion over Russia’s alleged involvement in the poisoning of an ex-spy on Russian soil, largely due to President Donald Trump’s efforts, according to senior administration officials.
“This is an unprecedented action,” principal spokesman for the White House National Security Council Michael Anton told Fox News Tuesday morning. “We looked through the history books and could not find another instance of so many countries acting all at once in concert on the same issue at the same time, and that is something that President Trump absolutely deserves credit for.”
“This wouldn’t have happened without his leadership,” Anton added. “The president was on the phone talking to European and other leaders last week and made it clear that the United States was willing to stand with its allies and partners and that he expected them to act.”
Over one hundred Russian officials are being expelled from the U.K., the U.S., Canada, Australia, Germany, France, Denmark, Finland, Estonia, the Czech Republic, Croatia, Hungary, Latvia, Italy, Lithuania, Romania, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain, Sweden, Albania, Ukraine, Macedonia and Norway, according to CNN.
Washington is expelling 60 Russian diplomats and shuttering the consulate in Seattle. “When you attack our friends you will face serious consequences,” a senior administration official explained.
The overwhelming response comes after the U.K. determined that Moscow was behind a nerve agent attack on ex-Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia earlier this month in Salisbury, England. The two victims remain in critical condition after exposure to Novichok, a Cold War-era chemical weapon developed by the Soviet Union.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov blamed the wave of mass expulsions on “colossal pressure” from Washington. Moscow continues to deny involvement in the poisoning of Skripal and his daughter.
Russia is expected to retaliate and is reportedly claiming that ties with the U.S. are in crisis.
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