MOSCOW: Part of the US Embassy staffers must leave Russia in two months, the Russian Foreign Ministry has said in response to Washington’s decision to expel Russian diplomats.
“By January 31, 2022, those who have been working at the US Embassy in Moscow for more than three years must leave Russia,” the Ministry’s spokesperson Maria Zakharova said on Wednesday during her weekly briefing.
If Washington does not correct its policy, another batch of US diplomats must depart by July 1, 2022, she added, without specifying the number of the affected personnel.
The tit-for-tat retaliation came after the US asked 55 Russian diplomats to leave the country in two batches by January 30, 2022 and June 30, 2022, Xinhua news agency reported.
The de-facto expulsion as Moscow perceives was due to a State Department decision in December 2020 to impose a three-year limit on long-term assignments for staffers of the Russian Embassy in Washington, D.C. and Consulates General in New York and Houston.
Zakharova said at her briefing that the restrictions went against diplomatic norms and were “an obvious encroachment on the sovereign right of a country.”
She stressed that Washington ignored Russia’s efforts to find a constructive solution to the issue, thereby forcing Moscow to take a reciprocal response.