Expelled Russians arrive home as Moscow warns against travel to UK
Russian diplomats expelled from the United States arrived in Moscow on April 1, with post-Cold War tensions peaking in the wake of a nerve agent attack on a former spy in Britain.
In further signs of tension, Russia warned its nationals on March 31 to think twice before travelling to Britain, where it said they could be singled out for harassment by local authorities.
By expelling 60 Russian diplomats, the U.S. joined a score of Britain’s allies in responding to the poisoning of former double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in the English city of Salisbury on March 4.
Two planes arrived at Moscow’s Vnukovo airport on April 1, bringing home a total of 171 people -- the 60 diplomats and their families -- from Washington and New York.
Russian television showed passengers disembarking from a government plane while several buses waited to pick them up.
More than 150 Russian diplomats have now been ordered out of the U.S., EU members, NATO countries and other nations.
Russia has angrily denied any involvement.
Moscow responded by expelling 60 U.S. diplomats and closing Washington’s consulate in Saint Petersburg on March 31.
U.S. President Donald Trump has often appeared reluctant to criticize Russian leader Vladimir Putin and has said the two could meet for a summit in the near future.
“Now the consulate is closed but our work to improve Russian-U.S. ties is continuing,” the U.S. embassy in Moscow said on Twitter.
Moscow also issued further retaliatory measures against Britain on March 31, demanding that London further slash its diplomatic presence.
The Russian embassy in London urged Russians to think carefully before travelling to the U.K. or sending children to summer school there.
The embassy warned that British authorities including police could single out Russians for additional checks, citing “the anti-Russian policies and an escalation of the British side’s threatening rhetoric.”