The Russian Foreign Ministry (MFA) has responded to calls by US senators to expel 300 diplomats from the country. It is reported by TASS…
The government replied that there is no such number of Russian diplomats in Washington. “Lacking knowledge of international relations.”
An open letter to President Joe Biden with a request to expel Russian diplomats was written by US senators from both the Democratic and Republican parties. In particular, they demanded that the American leader deliver an ultimatum to Russia: Moscow must expand the US embassy, or 300 Russian diplomats will be expelled from Washington.
The authors of the appeal considered the disproportionateness of the diplomatic representation unacceptable. In their opinion, the Russian side will give out enough to get closer to parity between the American diplomats working on its territory.
In August, US Ambassador to Russia John Sullivan made a similar statement. In particular, he drew attention to the large disproportion in the number of diplomats located in the two states. So, in Russia there are 123 employees of the embassy, and in the USA – 400 Russian diplomats, distributed between the embassy, two consulates and a permanent mission to the UN. “The numbers speak for themselves,” he summed up.
This September, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said that Moscow Washington offered to “reset” the situation with diplomas. According to him, the United States “nothing prevents” from sending as many employees to Russia as they make up, within the established limit of 455 people. “Instead, they have curtailed consular services, visas are not issued,” he recalled.
The head of the Russian diplomatic mission in Houston, Alexander Zakharov, even stated that if the United States continues the policy of “visa containment”, by the end of the year the staff of the Russian Consulate General in Houston will be reduced to two people. According to him, the United States continues to impose new restrictions on the staffing of Russian diplomatic missions, since new diplomats do not receive a visa.
Prior to that, Russia demanded to lift restrictions on a number of diplomats on the exchange of visas for the US Deputy Secretary of State for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland, who is prohibited from entering the territory of the Russian Federation. In particular, we are talking about Konstantin Vorontsov, a specialist in the Department of Nonproliferation and Arms Control of the Russian Foreign Ministry, as well as several Russian diplomats, representatives of Roscosmos and the Ministry of Defense.