President Donald Trump on Monday ordered the expulsion of 60 Russians from the United States and the closure of the Russian consulate in Seattle, senior U.S. administration officials told reporters, speaking on condition of anonymity, CNBC informed.
The order includes 12 intelligence officers from Russia’s mission to the United Nations using their roles as “covers” to conduct covert operations that threaten America’s national security.
“The United States takes this action in conjunction with our NATO allies and partners around the world in response to Russia’s use of a military-grade chemical weapon on the soil of the United Kingdom, the latest in its ongoing pattern of destabilizing activities around the world,” a senior administration official said.
In a tit for tat move, Moscow will also expel at least 60 staff from U.S. diplomatic missions in Russia.
According to the report, the President was recommended to make the move by a group of advisers, and agreed with their recommendations on Wednesday. Trump refined the proposals on how it would be carried out with his inner circle, including U.S. Ambassador to Russia Jon Huntsman, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, and Defense Secretary James Mattis, on Friday.
State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said in a statement that the United States was considering a “range of options to respond to Russia’s outrageous actions in the UK, both to demonstrate our solidarity with our ally and to hold Russia accountable for its clear breach of international norms and agreements.”