US calls Russia’s expulsion of American diplomats “unjustified”

WASHINGTON, The United States called on Thursday Russia’s decision to expel 60 American diplomats and shutter the US consulate “unjustified” and indicates Moscow’s actions show “it is not interested in a dialogue.” “There is no justification for the Russian response,” State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert said in response to the Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s announcement that 60 US diplomatic officials must leave the country within a week, and the US consulate in St. Petersburg will be shuttered.

Lavrov’s announcement comes in response to Washington’s expulsion of 60 Russian officials earlier this week stemming from the poisoning of a former Russian spy and British citizen in the United Kingdom.

At least 28 other countries have followed suit, expelling an estimated 153 Russian diplomats from various countries around the world.

“Our actions were motivated purely by the attack on the United Kingdom – the attack on a British citizen and his daughter,” Nauert told reporters in Washington.

“Remember, this is the first time that a weapons-grade nerve agent, Novichok, has been used outside of war on — on allied soil.” “Russia clearly is not interested in having good relations with other countries, and that is evident by the actions that they have taken,” she asserted, noting they “reserve the right to respond further.” Nauert dismissed Russia’s denials of its involvement in the UK attack as the latest example of Russia’s “disinformation campaigns,” reminiscent of Putin’s denial that Russian military forces had invaded Ukraine.

“Russia should not be acting like a victim,” Nauert said.

“We would certainly like to have a better relationship with Russia, but their actions today don’t indicate that they are very serious about having a better relationship with the US.” (end) hy.mb

Source: Kuwait News Agency