Russia expels two US diplomats in tit-for-tat move

Washington turfed out two Russian officials over an attack on an embassy worker last month


Afp July 09, 2016
Russian President Vladimir Putin. PHOTO: REUTERS

MOSCOW:

Moscow on Saturday said it had expelled two US diplomats in a retaliatory move after Washington turfed out two Russian officials over an attack on an embassy worker last month.


"After their unfriendly step two employees of the United States embassy had to leave Moscow," Russia's deputy foreign minister Sergei Ryabkov said.

"They were declared persona non grata for activities incompatible with their diplomatic status."

US accuses Russia of harassing, intimidating diplomats

Ryabkov accused the two US diplomats of being CIA agents and said that one of them had been involved in a brawl with a policeman in Moscow that sparked the tit-for-tat expulsions.

"We hope Washington recognises all the same the perversity of its anti-Russian line. If they decide there to move further along the path of escalation it will not remain unanswered," Ryabkov warned.

The United States State Department on Friday announced that it had expelled two Russian officials over an attack on a US diplomat in Moscow last month by a policeman.

"On June 17, we expelled two Russian officials from the United States to respond to this attack," department spokesperson John Kirby said.

Putin accepts US as sole superpower

He said that on June 6, a Russian policeman attacked an accredited US diplomat entering the US embassy compound, after the US official identified himself.

Moscow, however, disputes that version of events and insists the US diplomat was a CIA agent who attacked the policeman as he tried to stop him to check his ID as he returned from a spying mission in the city.

Ties between the US and Russia are at their lowest point since the Cold War over the crisis in Ukraine.

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