Russia to shut Seattle consulate Monday as relations with West sour further

Russia to shut Seattle consulate Monday as relations with West sour further

The decision is in line with White House order that will see the expulsion of 60 Russian from the country.

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Photo: Elaine Thompson/AP

Today, the Russian consulate in Seattle will shut its doors in line with a White House order that will see the expulsion of 60 Russian from the country. The move is a show of solidarity with the UK after the nerve agent attack on ex-Russian spy Sergei Skripal last month.

In a tit-for-tat exchange, Moscow has ordered 60 US diplomats out and the closure of the US consulate in St Petersburg, with the US State Department predicting it may take further action in future.

Further action could potentially cause a split in the White House. Newly appointed National Security Adviser John Bolton has called for “very disproportionate” action in “cyberspace and elsewhere” against Russia in response to meddling in the 2016 presidential election. New Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has drawn criticism for downplaying Russia’s culpability in the interference but expects Moscow to meddle in the upcoming congressional elections.

This puts Bolton and Trump on a collision course over Russia. Trump is notable for a lack of anti-Russia rhetoric; he only begrudgingly signed anti-Russia sanctions last year after pressure from Congress and has yet to fully enforce them. Expect further ructions at the White House as a result.

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