President Donald Trump continues to be tough on Russia through his actions, as his administration on Monday ordered the expulsion of 60 Russian intelligence officers in the United States and the closure of the Russian consulate in Seattle, senior administration officials told Fox News.
The steps are in response to the nerve agent attack on an ex-Russian spy in the U.K.
The Seattle consulate is being closed because of its proximity to submarine bases and Boeing factories. The Seattle Times reports that Boeing has very close commercial contacts with Russia.
This isn’t the first time the Trump administration has closed a consulate. Last Summer, the administration ordered the shutdown of Russia’s San Francisco consulate, a chancery annex in DC, and a consular annex in New York. There are just two Russian consulates in the country: one in Houston and one in New York.
While President Trump himself sounds very soft on Putin and the Russian government in his words, the president has been extremely tough through his actions. The Trump administration has also kept 100% of the sanctions already in place by Obama, approved lethal arms sales to Ukraine, sanctioned 52 people related to the Global Magnitsky Act, launched 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles at Syria’s Shayrat Airbase, signed into law a Russian sanctions bill that levied new sanctions against the Kremlin, and ordered the execution of hundreds of Russian soldiers in Syria.
“With these steps, the United States and our allies and partners make clear to Russia that its actions have consequences,” White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said. “The United States stands ready to cooperate to build a better relationship with Russia, but this can only happen with a change in the Russian government’s behavior.”
The Russian government continues to deny responsibility for the nerve agent attack.
“We’ve said more than once and we say once again: Russia has had nothing to do with this affair whatsoever. Naturally, as before, we will proceed from the principle of reciprocity,” Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.