US State Department announced Thursday that the US may be taking additional actions in response to Russia ordering the expulsion of 60 US diplomats by April 5.
The State Department noted that there was “no justification” for Russia’s response and that it shouldn’t act “like a victim.”
“There is no justification for the Russian response,” Heather Nauert, the spokesperson for the US State Department, said Thursday. “Our actions were motivated purely by the attack on the United Kingdom.”
The response comes hours after Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov announced that Russia would be expelling the same number of Russian diplomats that the US ordered out of the Land of the Free. Russia’s decision is in addition to shutting down the US Consulate General in Saint Petersburg.
“The measures will be reciprocal,” Lavrov said at a briefing. “They include expulsion of the equivalent number of diplomats and they include our decision to withdraw our agreement to allow the United States’ general consulate to operate in St. Petersburg.”
Lavrov noted that 58 diplomatic employers would be removed from the US embassy in Moscow and that two staffers would have to leave the Consulate General in Ekaterinburg by April 5.
Americans stationed at the St. Petersburg address would have the next two days to leave.
More than 150 Russian diplomats have been ordered out of their stations following UK Prime Minster Theresa May’s announcement on March 14 that she would be expelling 23 Russian diplomats following the nerve agent attack on former spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia.
On March 4, the pair were found unconscious on a bench at a shopping mall in the UK’s Salisbury area. Though Russia has repeatedly denied having any involvement in the nerve agent attack, May has continued to blame Russia.