US President Donald Trump on March 26 ordered the expulsion of dozens of Russian intelligence officers from the United States and the closure of the Russian consulate in Seattle due to its proximity to submarine bases and Boeing.

According to a statement issued by the White House, the US is taking this action in conjunction with Nato allies and partners around the world in response to Russia’s use of a military-grade chemical weapon on the soil of the United Kingdom – the latest in its ongoing pattern of destabilising activities around the world.

Today’s actions make the US safer by reducing Russia’s ability to spy on Americans and to conduct covert operations that threaten America’s national security, read the statement. It said that the US and allies are making it clear to Russia that its actions have consequences.

“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 behaviour.”

This is in response to allegations that Russia used a military-grade nerve agent to attempt to murder a British citizen and his daughter in Salisbury in March.

“This attack on our Ally the United Kingdom put countless innocent lives at risk and resulted in serious injury to three people, including a police officer. In response to this outrageous violation of the Chemical Weapons Convention and breach of international law, today the United States will expel 48 Russian officials serving at Russia’s bilateral mission to the United States.”

The US will also require the Russian government to close its Consulate General in Seattle by April 2.

“The United States calls on Russia to accept responsibility for its actions and to demonstrate to the world that it is capable of living up to its international commitments and responsibilities as a member of the UN Security Council to uphold international peace and security.”