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Russia vows Cold War-style retaliation over mass expulsion of diplomats

Including the U.S., over a dozen countries announced expulsions on Monday of more than 100 Russian diplomats accused of being intelligence officials, in a united attempt to isolate and punish Russia for the alleged poisoning of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia. Nick Schifrin reports on the Trump administration’s measures, its harshest punishment of Russia to date.

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  • Judy Woodruff:

    The United States and at least 20 other nations have joined in a mass expulsion of Russian diplomats. Sixty are kicked out of the U.S. alone, in a bid to punish the Kremlin for an attack on a former Russian spy.

    Nick Schifrin begins our coverage.

  • Nick Schifrin:

    From parliament in London

  • Theresa May:

    It is part of a pattern of increasingly aggressive Russian behavior.

  • Nick Schifrin:

    To the European Council.

  • Man:

    We remain critical of the actions of the Russian government.

  • Nick Schifrin:

    To the White House.

  • Raj Shah:

    This is not the type of conduct that the United States or allies can accept.

  • Nick Schifrin:

    A united attempt to isolate and punish Russia for the alleged poisoning of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia.

    Today, 18 countries simultaneously announced expulsions of more than 100 Russian diplomats accused of being intelligence officials. European leaders said they wanted to express solidarity with British Prime Minister Theresa May.

  • Theresa May:

    Together, we have sent a message that we will not tolerate Russia's continued attempts to flout international law and undermine our values.

  • Nick Schifrin:

    In addition to closing the Seattle consulate, the Trump administration will expel 60 Russians accused of spying, the largest number of Russians expelled from the U.S. ever. In response, Russia vowed Cold war-style reciprocal retaliation. The Russian Embassy in Washington trolled with a Twitter poll: "Which U.S. consulate general would you close in Russia if it was up to you?"

    Ambassador to the U.S. Anatoly Antonov said Moscow Russia had nothing to do with the former spy's death.

  • Anatoly Antonov (through interpreter):

    What the United States of America is doing today, they are destroying what little remained of U.S.- Russian ties. I would add that all the responsibility for ruining Russian-American relations is on the United States of America.

  • Nick Schifrin:

    The U.S.-Russia relationship has been deteriorating since the 2014 Russian invasion and annexation of Crimea. In 2016, in response to election hacking, the Obama administration closed Russian compounds. Then Moscow limited the number of U.S. staffers in Russia.

    Then the U.S. closed Russia's San Francisco consulate. Then the Trump administration imposed more sanctions. Today's announcement is the Trump administration's harshest punishment to date.

  • President Donald Trump:

    I had a call with President Putin, and congratulated him on the victory.

  • Nick Schifrin:

    President Trump himself has not echoed his administration's criticism of Russia. Today, the White House said Russia must change its behavior, but said the door to dialogue was still open.

    For the "PBS NewsHour," I'm Nick Schifrin.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    And Nick will be back to explore the implications of all of this right after the news summary.

    President Trump's foreign policy came under attack today from a man who once sat in the Oval Office. I spoke with former President Jimmy Carter this morning in New York. Mr. Carter had vowed to work with the White House on North Korea, but took aim at Mr. Trump's pick for national security adviser.

    It's been a remarkably turbulent, tumultuous, some would say, first 14 months in office. How do you think he's doing?

  • Former President Jimmy Carter:

    I don't think he's doing well. He's made some very serious mistakes. I think the worst mistake he's made so far has been the appointment of John Bolton to be his national security adviser.

    I know Bolton from way back at a distance. I have never met him personally. But he has been very eager to go to war with different people, including North Korea and Iran. He's been in the forefront of every kind of radical enhancement the United States can make based on its own military prowess.

    He's — he's told lies about things where I knew the truth. And so I just have very little confidence in him.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    And you can tune in for my full interview with former President Jimmy Carter tomorrow on the "NewsHour."

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