Russia Trolls Trump With Twitter Poll, Asks Which US Consulate To Shut Down

Diplomacy in the time of Twitter

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Russia Trolls Trump With Twitter Poll, Asks Which US Consulate To Shut Down

The Russian Embassy in Washington asked Twitter which US consulate it should shut down (AFP/File)

On Monday, US President Donald Trump ordered an unprecedented expulsion of Russian officials, in response to Russia's alleged poisoning of a former Russian spy in Britain. Sixty Russians were expelled from the United States. True to Mr Trump's embrace of superlatives, that was the largest single expulsion of Russians or Soviet intelligence officers on record, according to reports. 

Russia immediate hit back at the "provocative gesture." 

The Russian Embassy in Washington asked its followers to vote in a Twitter poll to recommend which US consulate it should close in response.

The choices were the US consulates in St Petersburg, Vladivostok or Yekaterinburg.
 

In the 16 hours that the poll has been online, over 45,000 people have already voted, with the US consulate in St Petersburg receiving the most votes.

But not everyone is amused at the poll.

"None. The rapid decline of the diplomatic mission is definitely not the path to peace, unfortunately. I really hope that all the recent events wouldn't close opportunities for dialogue," tweeted one person.

"People tend to get offended when you're running around the nerve gas killing people," (sic) tweeted another, referring to the nerve-agent attack on a former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in London. Both remain in a critical condition in hospital.

Mr Trump also ordered the closure of the Russian consulate in Seattle - within snooping distance of a US submarine base and a plant run by aircraft-maker Boeing. 

The expulsion announcement was accompanied by an out-of-character warning that Russia has to change if Mr Trump's previously stated aim of better ties are to come true.

Better relations "can only happen with a change in the Russian government's behavior," the White House said.

In response to Mr Trump's expulsions, Moscow has already promised tit-for-tat measures.

Comments
An escalation seems inevitable.

(With inputs from AFP)

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