On Monday, over 20 European countries collectively expelled almost 60 Russian diplomats suspected of being intelligence operatives. The move signaled a significant escalation in Europe’s collective response to Moscow’s alleged role in a nerve agent attack in southern England in early March that left a former Russian spy and his daughter in a coma, and the British police officer who responded to the scene hospitalized.
That the United States joined the European response, by expelling another 60 Russian operatives and closing the Russian consulate in Seattle, underscored Western solidarity against the latest of repeated Russian provocations.
Until last week, British Prime Minister Theresa May had seemed painfully isolated in her attempts to rally support in Europe and the U.S. to respond to the attack. That changed Thursday at the European Union leaders’ summit, where the plans to organize the collective expulsions were reportedly hatched by May, French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.