Tensions between the United States and Russia appear to be stronger now than at any point in Trump's presidency so far.
Reports are breaking that President Trump just ordered the expulsion of 60 Russian intelligence officers from the United States, as well as the closure of the Russian consulate located in Seattle.
According to NPR News, the move follows the poisoning of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, in the English city of Salisbury on March 4. The Russians and their families now have seven days to leave the United States.
According to an administration official, the consulate is being closed down due to its proximity to a U.S. submarine base and Boeing's operations there.
"The United States takes this action in conjunction with our NATO allies, and partners around the world in response with 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," the official said.
The New York Times writes that of the 60 people included in the expulsion order, 12 are identified as Russian intelligence officers who have been stationed at the United Nations in New York, in response to Russia's alleged poisoning of a former Russian spy in Britain.
Reports claim that the expulsions are the toughest actions taken against the Kremlin by President Trump, who thus far during his presidency has been criticized for not being "firm enough" with President Vladimir Putin of Russia. As a result, mainstream media outlets will likely cheer this move.
According to the NYT, the White House believes that this order will help to root out Russians actively engaged in intelligence operations against the country. It also shows that the United States will stand alongside its NATO allies. Officials claim that the closure of the consulate in Seattle was ordered due to its proximity to a U.S. naval base.
The Sun, a news organization in the UK, writes that immediately after the United States made this major announcement, several European countries quickly followed suit. This includes Germany, Poland, and Lithuania, all of whom announced that they would follow the lead of the United States in expelling Russian diplomats.
Up to 20 nations across the European continent are reportedly expected to do the same after the Prime Minister delivered a damning security briefing on the Kremlin's involvement in a Salisbury attack.
The White House issued a statement that said, " With these steps, the United States and our allies and partners make clear to Russia that its actions have consequences."
Do you agree with this move by the Trump administration? Let us know what you think.
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