Spying on US Nuclear Sub Base Factor in Closing of Russian Consulate

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More than 20 nations on three continents Monday vowed to boot Russian diplomats in response to the poisoning of a former Russian spy in England, just as the United States announced it was responding by expelling 60 Russian intelligence officers.

Skripal and his daughter Yulia were both exposed to a potentially deadly nerve agent, according to British authorities, and remain in a critical condition in hospital.

Mr Johnson said: "Today's extraordinary global response by our allies stands in history as the largest collective expulsion of Russian intelligence officers ever & will help defend our shared security".

A Russian diplomat is to be expelled following the Salisbury nerve agent attack, the Irish foreign minister has confirmed. "We will work on it in the coming days and will respond to every country in turn", the RIA news agency cited an unidentified Foreign Ministry source as saying.

Australia expelled two Russian diplomats Tuesday in response to the "shocking" Skripal attack, which Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said was part of "a pattern of reckless and deliberate conduct by the Russian state that constitutes a growing threat to worldwide security". In turn, Germany, Canada, Poland and France have chose to expel four diplomats each, Lithuania and the Czech Republic - three each, Australia, Albania, Denmark, Spain, Italy and the Netherlands - two each, Hungary, Latvia, Macedonia, Norway, Romania, Finland, Croatia, Sweden and Estonia - one each, while Ukraine made a decision to send away 13 Russian diplomats. It is the single biggest mass expulsion of Russians by Western powers.

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She was one of the many who were inside Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School during the attack, which left 17 dead. Corin, 17, said preparations for the march have been stressful, but she and the others are excited.

Washington had already imposed sanctions on Russian citizens and firms for USA election meddling and cyber attacks but put off targeting oligarchs and government officials close to Putin.

European Union leaders agreed unanimously last week it was highly likely Russian Federation was behind the nerve-agent poisoning.

Political analyst Stanislav Belkovsky said Russia's foreign policy has been fired by "the concentrated energy of self-destruction" since 2014, the year when Moscow annexed Ukraine's Crimean peninsula, incurring retaliatory economic sanctions from the West.

The Kremlin has accused Britain of whipping up an anti-Russia campaign and has sought to cast doubt on the British analysis that Moscow was responsible. In the Czech Republic, where Russian officials have claimed the poison may have originated, Prime Minister Andrej Babis dismissed that allegation as "an utter lie". U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller is looking into whether Trump's campaign colluded with the Russians, which he denies.

"The United States took a very bad step by cutting what very little still remains in terms of Russian-American relations", he said. "We will be guided by the principle of reciprocity as before", Peskov said.

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Pakistan has also been accusing India of harassing its diplomats and releasing videos of alleged intimidation of its officials.

The closure of the Seattle consulate is a significant blow to Russian espionage, according to one former high-level USA official who handled Russian intelligence.

Denmark, the Netherlands, Latvia, Spain and Italy said they had expelled two diplomats each. Located on the 25th floor of a large, downtown office building, the consulate is a particular counter-intelligence concern because of its close proximity to a US submarine base and a Boeing Co. facility, said USA officials. Nor did Trump raise the accusations of poisoning of the ex-spy in a phone call with Putin last week.

US lawmakers largely welcomed Trump's move on Monday.

The U.S. has kicked out scores of Russians before, though never a group this size.

The statement comes after the United Kingdom - and 14 other countries - expelled Russian spies over their role in the Salisbury attack.

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