Russia asked the US diplomatic staff in Moscow to leave for more than three years before January 31, 2022, in response to Washington’s move.
“US embassy staff who have been in Moscow for more than three years must leave Russia before January 31, 2022,” Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said yesterday.
This is Russia’s latest move in diplomatic tension with the US. The Russian Embassy last week said that 27 Russian diplomats and their families were expelled from the US and must leave before January 30, 2022. Zakharova said Washington’s new rule means that Russian diplomats are barred from staying in the US for more than three years.
“We want to respond in the same way,” Zakharova said, adding that more US personnel would have to leave Russia unless Washington scrapped the three-year rule and compromised by July 1 next year.
The US Embassy in Moscow has not commented on this information.
The US embassy is Washington’s last representation in Russia after the closures of consulates in Vladivostok and Yekaterinburg, reducing the number of US diplomatic staff in the country from 1,200 in early 2017 to 120.
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said it was not too late for Washington to get Moscow to stop new expulsions if the US abandoned its plan to expel Russian diplomats.
Relations between Washington and Moscow, at their lowest point since the Cold War, are continuing to be strained over Ukraine.
Thanh Tam (Follow Reuters)