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Police officers stand by the cordon near the scene connected to the Sergei Skripal nerve agent attack in Salisbury, England. Britain. Photo: Jack Taylor/Getty Images

At least 14 European Union member countries and the U.S. took coordinated action on Monday over Russia's alleged nerve agent attack on a former Russian spy in the U.K. earlier this month.

Why it matters: The organized effort among the countries, just one week after Vladimir Putin was reelected as president, is intended to send a clear message to Russia that its shadow operations will not go unpunished among global allies of the EU.

  • The countries, both inside and outside of the EU, include: Canada, Germany, Poland and France will expel four Russian diplomats each; Italy, Spain, Denmark and the Netherlands will expel two each; Lithuania will expel three and ban 44 people from entering the country; Ukraine will expel 13; the Czech Republic will expel three and Estonia will expel Russia's defense attache. Latvia, Romania, Croatia, and Hungary are also expected to expel at least one diplomat.
  • The Trump administration also announced Monday morning that the president has assigned an order expelling 60 Russian intelligence officers from the U.S., and is closing a Russian consulate in Seattle.

Timing: Last week, EU leaders blamed Russia for the poison attack on a former Russian spy and his daughter in Salisbury, England, announcing in a statement that it was “highly likely” Russia was responsible, as there was “no plausible alternative explanation.”

Go deeper

A new Washington

Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Getty Image

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser said Friday that the city should expect a "new normal" for security — even after President-elect Biden's inauguration.

The state of play: Inaugurations are usually a point of celebration in D.C., but over 20,000 troops are now patrolling Washington streets in an unprecedented preparation for Biden's swearing-in on Jan. 20.

Mike Pence calls Kamala Harris to offer congratulations and help

Mike Pence. Photo: Chip Somodevilla via Getty

Vice President Mike Pence called Vice President-elect Kamala Harris on Thursday to congratulate her and offer assistance in the transition, the New York Times first reported.

Why it matters: The belated conversation came six days before the inauguration after a contentious post-election stretch. President Trump has neither spoken with President-elect Joe Biden, nor explicitly conceded the 2020 election.

Updated 2 hours ago - Health

The coronavirus variants: What you need to know

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

New variants of the coronavirus circulating globally appear to increase transmission and are being closely monitored by scientists.

Driving the news: The highly contagious variant B.1.1.7 originally detected in the U.K. could become the dominant strain in the U.S. by March if no measures are taken to control the spread of the virus, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Friday.