Russia has expelled 60 US diplomats and closed the US consulate in St.Petersburg. This announcement was made by the Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Thursday in retaliation for the expulsion of 60 Russian diplomats. According to the statement released, 58 of those to be expelled are from US mission in Moscow while two are from Yekaterinburg. However, they were given until April 5 to leave the country.

The US ambassador to Moscow, Jon Huntsman was summoned and informed of Moscow's decision. He was also rebuked for the earlier remark he made suggesting further US action against Russia, which could possibly result in the disruption of global stability.

Moscow's action is in response to a coordinated diplomatic attack by UK, US, EU, and NATO who accused Moscow of poisoning a former Russian intelligence officer and his daughter, on British soil, with a Soviet-designed nerve agent called Novichok. Together, over 150 Russian diplomats were expelled from 25 countries this week, 60 of them from the US were accused of spying for Russia and closing down Russian consulate in Seattle.

Russia and US' reactions could affect diplomatic relations

According to TASS, a Russian state news agency, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has vowed that Moscow will reciprocate in kind to all countries that took action against it. Russian President Vladimir Putin, who was recently re-elected, has denied Russian involvement, describing the accusation and coordinated diplomatic attack on his country as “delirium.” State Department Spokeswoman Heather Nauert responded by saying that they reserve the right to respond and advised Russia to stop acting like they’ve been victimized.

She further described Moscow's action as “regrettable” and “unacceptable.” Presumably, The US will respond and this could possibly affect their bilateral ties.

Last week, Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapon (OPCW) inspectors arrived in the UK to collect samples of the Novichok Nerve Agent for analysis. The result is expected to be released on April 2.

According to TASS news' Thursday report, OPCW has revealed that the findings will be handed over to Britain. Sergei Lavrov has said that if western nations refuse to dialogue through OPCW, it would prove that the allegations against Moscow are nothing more than a brazen provocation.

The Skripals’ poisoning

British Prime Minister Theresa May accused Moscow of using a military-grade Novichok nerve agent to poison a former Russian intelligence officer and daughter on UK soil.

News of Yulia Skripal’s rapid recovery was announced today. According to one of the Salisbury district hospital official, her condition is stable and non-critical. Nevertheless, Sergei Skripal’s condition remains critical.

The Skripals were found slumped on a bench in an outdoor shopping complex in Salisbury. The police investigators have said that there is a high probability that they first came in-contact with Novichok nerve agent at Sergei Skripal’s apartment due to the high level of the nerve agent discovered there. Speaking before the Parliament on Monday, Theresa May said that around 130 British citizens came in contact with this deadly agent. She also said that Moscow has offered several arguments about the use of Novichok nerve agent.