Washington has banned a flight supposed to embark Russian diplomats ordered to leave the United States, according to Moscow
The Russian Foreign Ministry described as “hostile” and “challenging“Washington’s decision not to leave a”humanitariana flight picks up Russian diplomats who had been ordered to leave the United States.
In a statement published on the ministry’s website on Wednesday and written by its spokeswoman, Maria Zakharova, Moscow warned that the US government’s latest move was a further blow to Russian-US bilateral relations, “which are already in a deplorable state.”
According to the official, Washington refused to issue an entry permit for a special flight that was supposed to bring Russian diplomats and their families home – a gesture marked by Zakharova”hostile.”
“The Biden administration has chosen to completely ignore the fact that we are essentially talking about humanitarian action,“said the diplomat. She explained that thethe plane was supposed to pick up those of our colleagues who were previously ordered by the State Department to leave the United States by the end of the month.”
Zakharova pointed out that the US government “provocative behaviorwill not go unanswered. The official added that Moscow warned Washington in advance that if it did not allow the flight to arrive, Russia would react, including asymmetrically.
Since the beginning of the Russian offensive against Ukraine at the end of February, a multitude of countries, mainly Western, have expelled a total of several hundred Russian diplomats. The Kremlin responded in this way, showing the door to the representatives of these countries.
In fact, deteriorating relations between Washington and Moscow had seen the two nations engage in reciprocal expulsions of diplomatic personnel for several years before armed conflict erupted.
On several occasions, US authorities have claimed that Russian diplomats served as spies – an allegation that Moscow has always denied.
This latest episode stems from a decision by the US State Department in August 2021 that Russian diplomats, who had been in the country for more than three years, should leave. Washington insisted it was not an expulsion, but rather a tightening of rules aimed at forcing Russia to rotate its diplomats with a frequency similar to that of the American embassy in Moscow .
Russia argued that this was a mere pretext and mirrored the newly introduced three-year limit by the United States, ordering a number of American diplomatic personnel to leave.
The first 24 Russian representatives left America in early September 2021.
Another 27 Russian diplomats and their families returned home on January 30, 2022.
Some 28 other embassy staff are expected to leave the United States on June 30.
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