The United States has said that it could take further action against Russia's decision to expel 60 American diplomats from the country in retaliation for a similar move by Washington over the alleged nerve-agent poisoning of a former Russian double agent in Britain.
State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said on Thursday that Russia's expulsion of the American officials was "unwarranted," arguing there was "no justification" for such an action.
"We reserve the right to respond," Nauert said in a press briefing. "I’m not going to predict anything that could happen, but we certainly have the ability to respond."
Russia's decision to kick out US diplomats on Thursday came after the White House announced on Monday that Washington decided to shut down a Russian consulate in Seattle and deport the 60 Russian diplomats in solidarity with the UK.
The expelled Russians, 12 of whom are accredited to the UN headquarters in New York, have been given seven days to leave the US.
American officials said the expulsions meant to send a message to Russian President Vladimir Putin about the "unacceptably high" number of Russian intelligence operatives in America.
Russia's Foreign Ministry said in a statement that "powerful forces" in the US and Britain were behind the nerve agent attack against Sergey Skripal that the British government has blamed on Moscow.
According to American political analyst E. Michael Jones, the poisoning Skripal is a false flag operation orchestrated by MI5 with the complicity of the British press in order to demonize Russia.
“The current wave of expulsions of Russian diplomats from the countries in the West goes back to the immediate cause of, which is the Skripal poisoning case in Britain. If there were ever an obvious false flag operation, it’s the Skripal’s poisoning case,” Jones told Press TV.
“The Russians arrested Skripal as a British agent. He was working for MI5. He spent 13 years in jail. If they wanted to kill him, they could have killed him in a Russian prison and nobody would have known anything different,” he added.
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