US Diplomats to Be Expelled from Russia

US Diplomats to Be Expelled from Russia

( – During an August 2 press briefing, State Department spokesperson Ned Price confirmed that the US would enforce a maximum three-year limit on the visas of Russian diplomats. This would result in the departure of 24 officials by September 3 unless they applied for extensions. On November 28, the Russian foreign ministry said that an additional 27 diplomats and family members would have to leave by January 30, 2021, and 28 other officials by June 30. Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova followed up later by announcing that it would begin expelling US diplomats next year.

Zakharova told the Associated Press that any US Embassy personnel who have spent more than three years in Russia would have to leave in 2022. According to Zakharova, a total of 55 US diplomats will have to depart during those expulsions, a figure equivalent to the number of Russians asked to leave the US.

“We see the American demand as an expulsion,” Zakharova stated, adding that “[Russia] will respond in kind.” Anatoly Antonov, Russia’s Ambassador to Washington, echoed that sentiment, adding that US officials declined to extend the Russian diplomats’ visa. He called on US officials to back down so both countries could resume the “normal practice” of diplomatic relations.

US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken and his Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov, met during an international security and cooperation summit hosted in Stockholm on December 2. Blinken reportedly warned that Russia would face consequences if it invaded Ukraine. However, given Russia’s recent buildup of troops near Ukraine and its shaky relations with the US, it’s unknown whether these ongoing tensions will deescalate any time soon.

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