Russia fires US diplomats deployed in Moscow for over 3 years

TEHRAN, Dec. 01 (MNA) – US Embassy staff who have been in Moscow for more than three years must leave Russia by 31 January 2022, the Russian Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday.

If Washington fails to compromise on the issue of Russian diplomats, another group of US diplomats will have to leave Russia by 1 July, the ministry warned, Sputnik reported. 

Meanwhile, Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov has stressed that Washington still has time to stop the ouster of American diplomats from Russia. He warned that the move comes as a mirror response to the US expulsion of Russian diplomats from Washington.

The announcement comes a day after the Russian Ambassador to the United States Anatoly Antonov said that Washington was de facto expelling Russian diplomats.

"The American side is trying to mislead the local and world public, deliberately distorting facts. We are credited with something that has nothing to do with reality. The situation is exactly the opposite," Antonov said.

The ambassador added that in December 2020, the US State Department unilaterally set a three-year limit on long-term assignments for employees of the Embassy in Washington and Russian consulates general in New York and Houston.

“Regarding other diplomatic missions, there is a five-year period of stay in the US. The statement that the departure of 55 Russian diplomats cannot be regarded as expulsion does not stand up to criticism either. It was clearly indicated to us that in case of refusal to comply with this requirement, the Russians would be deprived of immunity and other diplomatic privileges.

So, the talk is actually about expulsion," the ambassador stressed.

Antonov called on Washington to return to international obligations regarding diplomatic property and the normal practice of the operation of diplomatic missions. "Our proposals remain on the negotiating table," he said.

Meanwhile, Russian Deputy Permanent Representative to the United Nations Dmitry Polyanskiy warned that every Russian diplomat in the United States faces the risk of expulsion, stressing that the overall situation is unpredictable.

RHM/PR

News Code 181306

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