- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 27, 2018

The Trump administration acted “emotionally deaf” by deciding to expel dozens of Russian diplomats in the wake of a deadly shopping mall fire in the Siberian city of Kemerovo this weekend, Russia’s ambassador to the U.S. said Tuesday.

The shopping mall fire remains under investigation.

“On this grim day of tragedy in Kemerovo we have seen official Washington stay emotionally deaf, indifferent and inconsiderate,” said Anatoly Antonov, The Moscow Times reported.

“They have simply decided to make it even more painful. Well, gloat all you want,” Mr. Antonov said, according to the report.

Russia “shall not be provoked into an emotional outburst,” said the statesman. “But there will be a response,” he added.

At least 64 people including dozens of children died as a result of a fire that started Sunday at the Zimnyaya Vishnya shopping mall in Kemerovo, a largely industrial city situated at the junction of the Iskitim and Tom Rivers.

On Monday, meanwhile, President Trump authorized the expulsion of 60 Russian diplomats believed to be covert intelligence officers and the closure of the Russia consulate in Seattle in response to the recent poisoning of former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia.

Mr. Skripal, 66, and Ms. Skripal, 33, were found unconscious March 4 on a public bench in Salisbury, England. British authorities subsequently determined the Skripals were poisoned by a Russian military-grade nerve agent, and more than 20 nations have announced retaliatory measures against Moscow in the weeks since.

Russia has denied responsibility for their poisoning.

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