The United States is expelling 55 Russian diplomats, said Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova.
According to her, Washington continues to insist on bringing to parity the number of diplomats in the two countries, including the Russians working in the UN permanent mission in New York in the total count.
“If we compare embassies and consular offices, the picture is completely different. The Americans now have about 130 people working in Russia, while in our mission in Washington and two consulates general in New York and Houston there are less than 200,” Zakharova said.
“Given Washington’s demands that 55 morte of our diplomats and administrative and technical staff must leave the U.S. in the coming months, the situation on the diplomatic ‘front’ will only get worse,” she warned.
According to Zakharova, every hostile action of the United States will be followed by a “prompt and proportionate, but not necessarily symmetrical” response.
Russian Permanent Representative to the UN Vasily Nebenzia told RIA Novosti that dozens of Russian diplomats did not have their visas extended. As a result, they cannot leave the United States because they will not be allowed back.
The mother of one of the diplomats died and he was unable to attend the funeral ” because if he had left, he would not have received the visa to come back,” Nebenzia lamented.
In April, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree to create a list of “unfriendly countries”, which would have a limited ability to hire Russian citizens to work in their embassies. The U.S. was included in the list. Because of this Washington was forced to reduce the number of embassy staff fourfold and stopped issuing non-immigrant visas to Russians.
In October, the U.S. Department of State put Russians applying for American visas in “homeless nationalities” category along with Venezuela, Yemen, Iran, Cuba, Libya, Syria, Somalia, South Sudan and Eritrea.
Russia has about 400 diplomats in the United States, but most of them are employees of the UN mission. In September, a group of American senators called on Joe Biden administration to expel 300 Russians to eliminate diplomatic disparity. The Russian Foreign Ministry threatened Washington with retaliatory measures up to the complete closure of American foreign missions in Russia.