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.”