WASHINGTON – United States President Donald Trump on Monday ordered the expulsion of 60 Russian diplomats in a show of solidarity with the United Kingdom over a nerve agent attack on a former spy.
The Trump administration also closed Russia’s consulate in Seattle – while 14 EU countries including Germany, Latvia, Lithuana and Poland have also expelled envoys from Moscow.
The US government said it was acting “in conjunction” with NATO allies.
Britain blames the Kremlin for the attack, and has been seeking support from NATO allies since expelling 23 Russian diplomats itself on March 14.
In a White House statement, the US became the first UK ally to directly blame Russia for the use of a nerve agent against Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia, on March 4, that has left both in critical condition in hospital.
Statement on Expulsion of Russian intelligence officers. pic.twitter.com/4uCzMOMG3f
— Sarah Sanders (@PressSec) March 26, 2018
The use of a military-grade nerve agent fitted with Russia’s “ongoing pattern of destabilising activities around the world,” the statement reads.
The EU recalled its ambassador to Moscow last week.
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 March 25, the Russian embassy in Washington issued a statement calling for calm.