RUSSIA, MARCH 27, 2017 – Russia on Tuesday vowed not to leave the decision of the U.S. to expel 60 Russian diplomats unanswered.
Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov told Sputnik that Moscow was still eager to maintain dialogue with Washington on the strategic stability.
On Monday, U.S. President Donald Trump ordered the expulsion of 60 Russian diplomats, including 48 employees of the Russian Embassy and 12 people who have been assigned to the UN in New York.
Trump also ordered the closure of the Russian consulate in Seattle in connection with Moscow’s alleged involvement in the nerve agent attack on former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter in the UK city of Salisbury.
“We are open to constructive work, we will continue it, but yesterday’s decision by the U.S. authorities on our diplomatic missions will be met with a tough response,” Ryabkov said.
The deputy minister noted that Russia was not abandoning the strategic stability talks with Washington.
“We need this dialogue, the presidents of our countries said about it in a telephone conversation a few days ago, we are not giving up this dialogue, we will hold it,” Ryabkov said.
NAN reports that 16 European Union members, Canada, Ukraine, Norway and Australia are among countries expelling dozens of Russian diplomats in a coordinated response to the poisoning of former Russian military intelligence officer and British spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia
The U.S. and all EU member states have agreed that it is highly probable that the poisoning carried out in the British city of Salisbury was perpetrated by Russia.
The countries have agreed to take action in solidarity with Britain.
British Prime Minister Theresa May described the response as the biggest collective expulsion of Russian diplomats in history.
May said no fewer than 100 Russians in total had been expelled from 18 countries by the time May had spoken in parliament in London on Monday.
Britain itself expelled 23 diplomats earlier this month.
Earlier Monday, British Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs Boris Johnson wrote on Twitter that “Russia cannot break international rules with impunity.”