We previously reported that in response to the recent nerve agent attack on Sergei and Yulia Skripal, the UK had expelled 23 “undeclared [Russian] intelligence officers” (here), and that Russia had responded by (inter alia) expelling 23 diplomats from the UK Embassy in Moscow (see blog here). Since then, over 150 Russian intelligence officers have been expelled from more than 20 countries (see blog here). The US expelled 60 Russian intelligence officers and closed the Russian consulate in Seattle.
In response, Russia has imposed a number of retaliatory measures. Russia announced that 58 diplomatic staff at the US Embassy in Moscow and 2 employees at the US Consulate General in Yekaterinburg have been declared ‘persona non grata’ for “activities incompatible with their diplomatic status”. The agreement to open the US Consulate General in St Petersburg has been revoked. The White House has issued a press release stating that “Russia’s response was not unanticipated, and [that the US] will deal with it”. Russia has announced that it has declared ‘persona non grata’ the diplomats from 23 other countries “in response to their unjustified expulsions of Russian diplomats”. It also announced that Britain “must equalise, within a month, the total number of employees at the UK embassy in Moscow and the UK consulates in Russia with the number of Russian diplomats and administrative and technical workers who are on long-term tours of duty to the UK by making relevant cuts in their staffs”.