Russian officials said Wednesday that many US embassy officials had to leave the country by January. This is a new twist on escalating diplomatic spats.
In a briefing, Foreign Ministry spokesman Maria Zakharova said the decision affected diplomats who had spent more than three years in the country, responding to the U.S.’s return of 55 Russian diplomats. Said that it would be.
Russian Ambassador to the United States Anatoly Antonov said last week that 27 Russian diplomats and their families had been expelled from the United States. “We are facing a serious staff shortage,” he said.
A spokesman for the US State Department said on Monday that “what’s happening isn’t expulsion,” and Russia was warned of the move.
“Just as the Russian Federation allows our diplomats to stay in Russia for the first time, the United States about a year ago said that diplomats would be subject to the same three-year mission. This is not unusual, “said spokesman Jarina Porter. Said at the briefing..
Porter said Russia could replace the departing people with other staff.
Antonov rejected the idea that Russian diplomats would leave because their visas had expired, and said that refusing the United States to effectively extend them was equivalent to expulsion.
“We see the US request exactly as an expulsion and will respond accordingly,” Zakarowa said in a briefing. “I would like to emphasize that the choice is not ours. This game was imposed on us by our American partner. We tried to reason long and hard with them. “
After a series of expulsions, both diplomatic missions had to significantly reduce their activities. In retaliation for the sanctions, Moscow banned US missions from hiring locals to support operations, resulting in consular service suspension and visas being issued.
The US State Department has warned that the Moscow embassy could cease most of its functions in 2022. Last month, Russia was added to a short list of countries where “political or security conditions are weak or uncertain enough” and staff handle immigrant visa applications. Russians have been designated as “homeless citizens” who must apply for a visa in a third country.
About 120 people work in Russia for US missions, which is a fraction of the 1,200 staff in 2017. Russia, on the other hand, has about 230 people in the United States, excluding those working on UN missions in New York.
When commenting on the announcement, Sergei Ryabkov, Deputy Foreign Minister, said the United States had time to prevent retaliatory expulsion of diplomats from Russia.
“Of course, we still have time,” he said, according to TASS. “Our response is symmetrical and the same number of American employees leave our country on the same principle: those who” exceed “their three-year term. “
Ryabkov said Russia had proposed to the United States to revoke these requirements. “It goes against current practice and interferes with our own independent decisions.”
Russia warns the United States: more diplomats will have to leave next year
Source link Russia warns the United States: more diplomats will have to leave next year