President Donald Trump and his British counterpart spoke over the phone Wednesday about the expulsion of Russian diplomats who are accused of being covert intelligence officers by the west.
Trump and Prime Minister Theresa May "agreed on the importance of dismantling Russia’s spy networks in the United Kingdom and the United States to curtail Russian clandestine activities and prevent future chemical weapons attacks on either country’s soil," the White House said in a readout of the call.
Dozens of Russians were expelled across the U.S., Europe and Canada earlier this week in retaliation for a nerve-agent attack this month against a former Russian spy and his daughter on British soil that London has squarely blamed on Russia.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has denied any culpability, but the concerted effort is intended to be a blow to what western officials say is Moscow's use of covert intelligence officers with the protections of diplomatic immunity.
During the call, May "said the U.S. had delivered a very strong response and welcomed the breadth of international action in response to Russia’s reckless and brazen behaviour", the British government said in a separate statement.
The bilateral call comes one day after Trump discussed the coordinated effort with his German and French counterparts.
Sergei Skripal, 66, and his daughter Yulia, 33, were admitted to a hospital after being found unconscious in the southern English city of Salisbury on March 4.
London has said the attack was carried out using a Soviet-era Cold War nerve agent from a family called Novichok.
This article has been adapted from its original source.
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