The U.S. Ambassador to Russia is protesting Moscow's response in the diplomatic fight over the poisoning of a Russian ex-spy. Russia hasand will close the American consulate in Saint Petersburg.
That follows the U.S. expulsion of 60 Russians, part of a worldwide effort to condemn the Kremlin for the March 4on Sergei Skripal and his daughter in England.
As CBS News correspondent Charlie D'Agata reports, Moscow is in no mood to compromise.
In another clear signal to the West, Russia released video on Friday of a test launch of a new intercontinental ballistic missile. NATO's name for the ICBM is "Satan Two." It's capable of carrying 10 to 15 nuclear warheads. The video is evidence of Russia's second test of the missile since December.
Russia summoned ambassadors on Friday from at least nine European Union states -- all of which expelled Russian diplomats in solidarity with the U.K. -- to the Foreign Ministry in Moscow. The diplomats were arriving one after another to be handed expulsion notices.
The Kremlin insists it did not initiate a diplomatic war, but was instead forced into taking retaliatory steps in response to what they call hostile, illegal actions by Washington.
President Vladimir Putin has given those 60 U.S. diplomats one week to pack their bags and get out. The retaliation exceeded tit-for-tat.
Shutting down the U.S. consulate in St. Petersburg is a much bigger deal than closing the Russian consulate in Seattle. It is not only far larger, but was also the first U.S. mission opened there.
The nerve agent attack against a Russian former double agent turned the streets of Salisbury, England, into a toxic crime scene that has since triggered the worst diplomatic crisis since the Cold War.
President Trump avoided any mention of the poisoning when he congratulated Putin on his election victory, which made the hard-line international reaction -- and the U.S. expulsion of so many Russians, in particular -- all the more surprising.
Russia has consistently denied any responsibility for the attack, demanding evidence from Britain and suggesting the U.K.'s own special services might have had.
"There's been enough there to not only convince the United States, but about 25 other countries that have taken similar actions, that there's enough evidence to believe that the Russian state was behind this action in Salisbury," said Jon Huntsman Jr., U.S. Ambassador to Russia.
In total, 28 countries, as of Friday, have expelled more than 150 Russian diplomats since the attack.
The Russians insist the backlash is nothing more a Washington-orchestrated bullying campaign over its allies.
Asked by D'Agata whether she accepts that there is, "a level of distrust against Russia" right now, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said that was in fact the "main goal" of both Washington and London; "to make Russia be regarded on the world stage, international stage, you know, like a hooligan."
Doctors announced on Thursday that the condition of Skripal's daughter Yulia was rapidly improving. That too has become an issue; the Russians are demanding that the British government allow them to visit her because she remains a Russian citizen.