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Russia announced the expulsion of 60 US diplomats in retaliation for a similar decision taken on Monday by the United States. UU for the case of the poisoning of the double spy Sergei Skripal.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said today (29.03.2018) that Moscow will close the United States consulate in St. Petersburg and that it will expel 60 diplomats from that country.
Diplomats, who have been declared “persona non grata” according to “a principle of reciprocity,” will have until April 5 to leave Russian territory, the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement. “The US representatives must leave the administrative premises that were previously assigned to them no later than March 31,” he says.
Of the US diplomats who will be expelled, all work in the Russian capital, with the exception of two who exercise their functions in the US consulate general in Yekaterinburg, capital of the Urals.
Russian foreign summoned the US ambassador, John Huntsman, to communicate the measures and also gave him a “note of protest for the outrageous and unfounded demands” of 60 Russian diplomats leave that country for the Skripal case.
Moscow had already responded to the expulsion of 23 Russian diplomats by the United Kingdom with a similar measure. Skripal, 66, and her 33-year-old daughter were found unconscious on March 4 in a park in the British town of Salisbury. Since then they are in a critical state.
London blamed Moscow for the attack on Skripal and alleges that a nerve agent called Novichok developed in the former Soviet Union was used for the poisoning. However, Russia denies its involvement in the poisoning. The attack has brought to its lowest point the already tense relations between Russia and the West. In recent days, NATO and 26 countries have expelled more than 140 Russian diplomats in response to the alleged poisoning.