MOSCOW – Three buses believed to be carrying expelled American diplomats departed from the U.S. Embassy in Moscow on Thursday.
Before the morning departure, journalists outside the embassy compound saw people leaving the residences, placing luggage on trucks. Some toted pet-carriers, Fox News reports.
Russia last week ordered 60 American diplomats to leave the country by Thursday in retaliation for the United States expelling the same number of Russians.
The removal of diplomats were part of a deepening dispute over the nerve-agent poisoning in Britain of a Russian former double-agent and his daughter. Britain alleges Russian involvement, which Moscow vehemently denies.
More than 150 diplomats have been expelled by Britain and allies, and Russia has ordered reciprocal moves, Fox News reports.
Vassily Nebenzia spoke briefly to reporters outside a diplomatic luncheon in New York hours after President Trump ordered 60 Russian diplomats out of the U.S. and closed down the Russian consulate in Seattle. When one reporter asked whether U.S.-Russia relations were in crisis, Nebenzia said: “It’s been [in crisis for] some time already. Didn’t you notice?”
“Diplomacy supposes that there is a response when such things happen. Normally there’s a mirror-like response, but wait for what Moscow will say.”
Among the US diplomats being expelled, 58 are from the US Embassy in Moscow, and two officials from the General Consulate in Ekaterinburg. The diplomats will have until April 5 to leave Russia. The US General Consulate in St. Petersburg was shut down on March 31.
Russia announced the expulsion of US diplomats and the closure of the US Consulate in St. Petersburg in late March, as a mirror response to the mass expulsion of Russian diplomats initiated by the UK and US in alleged “retaliation” to the poisoning of Sergei Skripal and his daughter in Britain, RT reports.
Russia and China have been engaged in their own disputes with the United States. The NATO military buildup on Russia’s doorstep has already “crossed the red line,” according to Russian envoy to NATO Aleksandr Grushko. At the same time, Russia has been hit with sanctions and is facing more possible legal issues with the US and EU over the poisoning of ex-double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter in the UK. RWT News
Chris “Badger” Thomas is a Veteran who served our country as an Army Combat Medic.
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