Russia asks Twitter users how to retaliate against the US for expelling diplomats

Key Points
  • The official Twitter account for Russia's U.S. embassy asks which U.S. consulate should be closed in response to President Trump's decision to expel Russian diplomats.
  • Trump's move corresponded to penalties against Russia from more than a dozen European nations.
  • The Twitter poll received more than 11,000 votes in 2½ hours, with the U.S. consulate in St. Petersburg receiving the most votes.
Vladimir Putin
Alexander Zemlianichenko | POOL | Reuters

Russia is asking users on President Donald Trump's favorite social media platform for ideas on how to retaliate against the U.S. for expelling 60 diplomats on Monday.

"What US Consulate General would you close" in Russia "if it was up to you to decide," asked the official Twitter handle for Russia's embassy in the U.S.

The query appeared to be a direct challenge to the Trump administration's decision to oust 60 Russian diplomatic officers — and close Russia's consulate in Seattle — over the alleged assassination attempt of an ex-spy in London.

Included in the tweet was an interactive poll asking users to select whether they would shutter the U.S. consulates in Vladivostok, Yekaterinburg or St. Petersburg.

Russia in USA tweet: US administration ordered the closure of the Russian Consulate in Seattle @GK_Seattle. What US Consulate General would you close in @Russia, if it was up to you to decide

By 1 p.m. EST, the poll had accumulated more than 11,600 votes, with the St. Petersburg consulate getting a 45 percent plurality of the total.

In addition to the U.S. Embassy in Moscow, the three consulates offer services for American citizens who live in Russia or plan to visit it. They also provide nonimmigrant visas to foreigners traveling to the U.S.

Trump on Monday ordered 48 Washington-based Russian diplomats and 12 at the United Nations to leave the country. The decision came as a show of solidarity with Britain, which blamed Russia for the attempted assassination carried out using a rare nerve agent. Russia denies its involvement.

The Trump administration's move coincided with penalties against Russia from more than a dozen European nations on Monday.

"The United States takes this action in conjunction with our NATO allies and partners around the world in response to Russia's use of a military-grade chemical weapon on the soil of the United Kingdom, the latest in its ongoing pattern of destabilizing activities around the world," White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement following the order.

Last week, Trump sent his own Russia-related tweets, defending a congratulatory phone call with President Vladimir Putin after he won a March 18 landslide re-election that some watchdog groups and dissidents have called illegitimate.

Having a strong relationship with Russia, Trump said, "is a good thing, not a bad thing."

Trump tweet