On Wednesday, Moscow said some US diplomats will have to leave Russia by the end of January in response to the US expelling dozens of Russian diplomats.
Last week, Russia’s ambassador to the US, Anatoly Antonov, said 27 Russian diplomats had to leave the US by January 31st. The US says the diplomats only have to leave because their visas are expiring, but Moscow views the visa delays as an intentional expulsion.
“We see the American demand as an expulsion and will respond in kind,” Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova. She said the Russian diplomats that have to leave the US have been working in the country for three years.
Over the past few years, the US has been expelling Russian diplomats and putting restrictions on Russian diplomatic facilities as part of a campaign to put pressure on Moscow. Russia has responded to the US moves in kind, leaving fewer diplomats in each country as tensions between the two powers are soaring.
In recent talks, Russia offered a mutual lifting of the diplomatic restrictions, but the US didn’t agree. Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Yuri Ryabkov said Wednesday that the US has no interest in letting up on the pressure.
“They just go head-on, continuing attempts to exert pressure,” Ryabkov said. “That language of ultimatums that the Americans also use in other spheres of our relations is unacceptable for us. We will respond in kind.”