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West unites in expelling Russian diplomats; Russia retaliates by threatening to shut down US consulates in Russia
More than 15 countries united on Monday to expel over 100 Russian diplomats accused of being spies. Led by the UK, the US was also quick to respond by expelling 60 diplomats. It also closed down Russia's consulate in Seattle.

The other countries that have come out in solidarity with the UK and have decided to expel Russian diplomats are Ukraine, Netherlands, Denmark, Germany, Canada, Italy, Poland, France, Lithuania, and Czech Republic.

While Denmark has said that it will expel two Russian diplomats, other European countries which are expelling diplomats include Finland one, France four, Germany four, Italy two, Sweden one and Netherlands two. Canada has also said that it will expel four diplomats.

The United States said that it was expelling 60 Russian diplomats. In total, more than 100 Russian diplomats will be expelled from various countries. This could be the highest number of diplomats ever expelled since the Cold War.

Russian Foreign Ministry has termed the mass expulsion as a 'provocative gesture' signalling a reaction against the expulsion. In fact, the Russian embassy to the US even launched a Twitter poll on Monday asking users to vote which American consulate should be closed in Russia.

"US administration ordered the closure of the Russian Consulate in Seattle. What US Consulate General would you close in Russia," the Twitter poll asks users. Among the three consulates that the poll lists as options are the consulates in Vladivostok, Yekaterinburg and in St Petersburg.

Thisdevelopment comes after the attack on former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter on March 4, who were poisoned by a nerve agent. The two had been found unconscious in a shopping centre. Russia is believed to be behind the attack although Russia has denied the allegation.

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