U.S. President Donald Trump on Monday ordered the expulsion of dozens of Russian intelligence officers, and the closure of the Russian consulate in Seattle.
As reported by Censor.NET, Principal Deputy Press Secretary for the White House Raj Shah told a briefing that this action is a response to Russia’s use of a military-grade chemical weapon in the United Kingdom, and was taken in conjunction with our allies and partners around the world, including more than a dozen countries in the EU and NATO, and others around the world.
"This was a coordinated effort, and the president spoke with many foreign leaders — our European allies and others — and encouraged them to join the United States in this announcement. We think that this is not just an important message to send to the Russian government, but it’s also significant in degrading their intelligence capabilities around the world, not just in the United States," Shah said.
According to him, the U.S. stands ready to cooperate to build a better relationship with Russia, "but this can only happen with a change in the Russian government’s behavior."
"... Our relationship with Russia is, frankly, up to the Russian government and up to Vladimir Putin and others in senior leadership in Russia," he said
"The poisoning in the UK that has kind of led to today’s announcement was a very brazen action. It was a reckless action. It endangered not just two individuals who were poisoned, but many civilians — many innocent civilians. And this is not the type of conduct that the United States or allies can accept. But the President still remains open to working with the Russians on areas of mutual concern — counterterrorism, for example, and others. But, you know, that’s really up to the Russians to decide," the spokesperson said.
Asked why did President Trump not say to Putin directly that Salisbury nerve agent attack was a reckless and brazen action when he spoke with him and had the opportunity to do that, if he actually believes this was the case, the spokesperson said: "Well, he raised a number of issues and we did secure with Putin, on that call, some positive interaction when it comes to nuclear arms. So there were certainly positive developments on that call, and the President will continue diplomacy with Russia and with Putin. But, you know, this action by the President is very clear. We’re very heartened that it comes in conjunction with over a dozen allies, both in NATO and EU."
As reported, Russian ex-spy Sergei Skripal, 66, and daughter Yulia Skripal, 33, remain critically ill in hospital, after they were found unconscious on a bench in the Wiltshire city on March 4. The UK government says they were poisoned with a nerve agent of a type developed by Russia called Novichok and PM Theresa May said she believed Moscow was "culpable."
UK expelled 23 Russian diplomats as part of a "full and robust" response – prompting Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov to say it will "certainly" expel British diplomats in response.
On March 16, Nato Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said the alliance had "no reason to doubt the findings and assessments by the British government" which suggested Russian responsibility. He said the "UK is not alone" and Nato allies gave "strong political support" to Britain, following a joint statement from the US, France and Germany backing Mrs May's government and a pledge of support from Australia.
British Foreign Minister Boris Johnson said that the U.K.'s government believes that it was likely Putin's decision to direct the use of a nerve agent on the streets of the U.K.
U.S. President Donald Trump on Monday ordered the expulsion of 60 Russians from the United States on Monday, including 12 people identified as Russian intelligence officers who have been stationed at the United Nations in New York.