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

Decision on Burns Lake’s workforce camp “pending very soon”: Coastal GasLink

Meetings to discuss new camp location postponed due to wildfire situation

B.C. parents leery of HPV cervical cancer vaccine

Provincial registration uptake among lowest in Canada

Municipal spending outpaces population growth 4-fold in B.C.: report

Canadian Federation of Independent Business has released its annual operational spending report

Northern Health set to take pulse of region’s heart health in new consultations

Fort St. James’ consultation will take place Oct. 11

No end in sight for B.C. labour shortfall: study

Retiring baby boomers causing demographic labour pool shift

VIDEO: Messages of hope, encouragement line bars of B.C. bridge

WARNING: This story contains references to suicide and may not be appropriate for all audiences.

Fresh-faced Flames fend off Canucks 4-1

Vancouver drops second straight NHL exhibition contest

VIDEO: B.C. deer struggles with life-preserver caught in antlers

Campbell River resident captures entangled deer on camera

Scheer pushes Trudeau to re-start Energy East pipeline talks

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer questioned the Prime Minister over Trans Mountain project

Mistaken identity: Missing dog claimed in Moose Jaw belongs to another family

Brennen Duncan was reunited with a white Kuvasz that was found in Saskatchewan

Abandoned kitten safe and sound thanks to B.C. homeless man

‘Jay’ found little black-and-white kitten in a carrier next to a dumpster by a Chilliwack pet store

Police chief defends controversial marijuana seizure

Advocates said cannabis was part of an opioid-substitution program in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside

Trans Mountain completes Burrard Inlet spill exercise

Training required, some work continues on pipeline expansion

Supporters of B.C. man accused of murdering Belgian tourist pack courtoom

Family and friends of Sean McKenzie, 27, filled the gallery for brief court appearance in Chilliwack

Most Read