The much-expected Russian retaliation is here after the U.S. and European nations kicked out Russian diplomats over a suspected nerve agent attack in the U.K.
- Russia is expelling 60 U.S. diplomats — the same number as the U.S. expelled stateside — and will close the U.S. consulate in St. Petersburg. [AP]
- Russia will take similar action in the other countries that expelled Russians, expelling 150 diplomats in total.
- State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said the U.S. "reserves the right to respond" to the actions. She added that Russia has decided to "further isolate itself diplomatically and economically" and that Russia "should not be acting like a victim."
- Go deeper... Trump's Russia paradox: Why he's loath to blast Putin
Be smart... Axios world editor Dave Lawler emails:
- "The Russian response sounds big — 150 expulsions across some two dozen countries — but since it's a tit-for-tat move, that really just emphasizes the scale of the retaliation Russia faced over the Skripal attack."
- "A European diplomat tells Axios it was far larger than the Kremlin expected or, frankly, had reason to expect based on past actions the West has taken (or declined to take). But while the expulsions were predictable, they're also emblematic of how poisonous relations are with Russia — and how Russia has little intention of improving them."