Russia vowed on Tuesday to respond to the expulsion of its diplomats from two dozen countries. 

“Rest assured, we will respond,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said, according to the Kremlin-backed TASS news agency. “The reason is that no one would like to tolerate such obnoxiousness and we won’t either.”

Lavrov did not say what actions the Russian government planned to take. He blamed the expulsions of Russian diplomats from outposts in 24 countries on a “colossal blackmail” campaign by Washington. 


“When one or two diplomats are asked to leave this or that country, with apologies being whispered into our ears, we know for certain that this is a result of colossal pressure and colossal blackmail, which is Washington’s chief instrument in the international scene,” he said, according to TASS. 

His comments came a day after President Trump moved to expel 60 Russian officials from the U.S., as part of a coordinated effort with other countries to punish Moscow for the poisoning of a former Russian spy on British soil. 

Among the Russians expelled from the U.S. were a dozen based at the United Nations in New York and 48 working at the Russian embassy in Washington. The Trump administration also moved to shutter the Russian consulate in Seattle.

The diplomatic removals were the largest ever, and underscored soaring tensions between Moscow and the West that rose to new heights after the poisoning of ex-Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, with a military-grade nerve agent.

Western officials have blamed Russia for that attack — an allegation that Moscow denies.

The United Kingdom expelled 23 Russian diplomats from the country earlier this month in retaliation for the poisoning. Moscow responded in kind, kicking 23 British diplomats out. 

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