WASHINGTON (CBSMiami) – Tensions with Russia have reached new heights after they ordered 60 Americans to leave the country.
It’s the exact number of Russian diplomats that President Donald Trump kicked out of the country on Monday. That decision came in response to the poisoning attack of former spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury, England.
CBS News learned that the assassination attempt went all the way to the top.
“A senior UK official I spoke with said that this chemical attack is part of an assassination program that was authorized by President Vladimir Putin and that is why you are seeing such a strong response,” said Margaret Brennan.
British authorities blamed Russia for the attack.
“The message that is being sent is you cannot use a military grade nerve agent without a response,” said U.S. Ambassador to Russia Jon Huntsman.
Part of that response was Trump’s closure of the Russian consulate in Seattle. In retaliation, Russia said it would be shutting down the U.S. consulate in St. Petersburg.
Russia’s Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said there is no proof Russia was to blame for the March 4th attack and compared it to the misleading information she said the West used to justify the invasion of Iraq.
“Nobody asked for some additional materials on weapons of mass destruction, they just trusted the United States and Great Britain and they were betrayed,” she said.
The expulsions will make it harder for U.S. citizens in Russia to get visas or paperwork done. It will also make it harder for Russia and America to communicate.
“It’s clear from the list provided to us that the Russian Federation is not interested in a dialogue on issues that matter to our two countries,” said State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert.
The U.S. was not alone in expelling Russian diplomats. Twenty-seven other countries also expelled them because of the assassination attempt. Friday morning, Russian officials summoned more ambassadors to the Kremlin to inform them that diplomats from their countries would also be expelled.
U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said the world is approaching a situation “similar” to the Cold War as tensions rise between the United States and Russia.