The decision comes after the case of Sergei Skripal and was taken at a meeting of leaders of the European Union
More than 20 countries on three continents promised on Monday, March 26, to expel a certain number of Russian diplomats in response to the poisoning of a former Russian spy living in England. The United States similarly announced that it was responding to that action by expelling 60 Russian intelligence officers who were in the United States.
The United Kingdom had already expelled 23 Russian diplomats this month, after claiming that Russia was behind the poisoning of former spy Sergei Skripal in Salisbury, England. The former spy was intoxicated along with his daughter, both are in critical condition for the fact. It is estimated that at least 115 Russian diplomatic officials, in total, will be expelled from the countries that ratified their decision.
Australia confirmed in the past few hours that it was expelling two Russian diplomats identified as undeclared intelligence officials, citing Russia's "reckless and deliberate conduct". New Zealand said it had no such agents operating on its coasts, but that it would expel them if it did.
The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statement protesting the expulsions of Russian diplomats in the United States, Europe, and Oceania, calling it a "provocative step" and warning that Russia will respond. The protest note does not explicitly state how it will act, but after the United Kingdom expelled the 23 Russians this month, Russia expelled 23 British diplomats.
This is the strongest and most forceful action that US President Donald Trump has taken against Russia since taking office. Trump has been criticized by Democrats and members of his own party for not being tough enough with Russia. The criticism centers on the accusations about Russia's interference in the electoral system of the American country, including the 2016 presidential campaign. The scandal over this mediation has not yet been resolved and maintains a climate of tension in the government and its opposition.
Trump also ordered the closure of the Russian consulate in Seattle due to its proximity to a US submarine base. In that city are the headquarters of defense contractor Boeing Corporation, said a senior US official. Seattle was a center of cybernetic, political, and commercial espionage for Russia, according to two intelligence officials from the United States who remained anonymous.
These US officials claimed that the scale of the expulsions was based not only on the expansion of Russian espionage in the United States, but also on their growing focus on critical infrastructure objectives such as power grids, financial networks, transportation, and medical care.
Kremlin has refused to be behind the attack on Sergei Skripal and his daughter in England. Skripal, 66, and Julia Skripal, 33, were found unconscious in a public bank of a shopping mall on March 4. Both remain in critical condition in the hospital, doctors fear that Sergei cannot recover.
The British Prime Minister, Theresa May, told the Parliament of her country, and addressing countries that have shown their solidarity that "together we have sent a message that we will not tolerate Russia's continued attempts to circumvent international law and undermine our values". May referred to the tension produced by Russian interference in internal affairs of other countries.
Latin American Post | Carlos Eduardo Gómez Avella
Translated from “ ¿Por qué Estados Unidos y más de 20 países expulsan a diplomáticos rusos?”