in the vicinity
Russia responds: U.S. diplomats expelled, the Consulate closed
Moscow’s foreign Minister says the Kremlin is shutting down the U.S. Consulate in St. Petersburg and step out of 150 diplomats, including 60 Americans, rich Edson reports from the State Department.
All of the 60 Russians sold the United States this week were not declared, “spies”, pretending to be diplomats, a senior administration official told reporters on Thursday, saying the Russians were undesirable — “persona non grata.”
“They’re not diplomats, we are sold. These were officers of the intelligence, were not activities that were, according to their diplomatic tasks and functions of an Embassy,” the official said. “And you are working under diplomatic cover.”
The decision to kick out 48 Russians from their Embassy in Washington, DC, and the Consulate in New York City, plus an additional 12 reportedly working for the Russian Mission to the United Nations, was Monday announced. The 60 Russians had left seven days after the order.
It came in the light of the nerve-agent poisoning of the former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal, and his daughter, Julia, in the British city of Salisbury on 4. March.
The senior administration official added, “That this undeclared Russian intelligence officers in our country is a threat to our national security is of importance and is one of the points that we make to our partners around the world.”
Asked whether the US was satisfied with the answer from Europe, the official name of the collective action “an unprecedented show of transatlantic unity” and “an amazing response to a breach of the post-war order.” The official said it was a turning point in the could, how the US and its allies to Russia’s activities in the West. “And so a joint action, the behavior of a number of countries… sends a stronger message of our unity against the Russians” vile.”
The question of the relationship between the United States and the United Kingdom, the senior administration official said that the “special relationship is as strong as it ever was”, and that “the UK is our strongest ally remains rooted in NATO, and before and after its exit from the European Union.”
Marta Dhanis is a Fox News field producer.