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Moscow says 96 Russians will have to leave US due to diplomat expulsions

December 30, 2016, 18:33 UTC+3

On December 29, the US department of State declared 35 Russian diplomats persona non grata as part of new sanctions against Russia

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Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova

© Mikhail Japaridze/TASS

MOSCOW, December 30. /TASS/. A total of 96 Russian diplomats and their family members will have to leave the US, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Friday.

"On December 29, the US administration announced that over 30 Russian diplomats will have to leave the country," she said. "Their family members will have to leave the US with them. The total number of the affected people is 96, including children of preschool and school age."

At the same time, the Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman noted that some of the Russian diplomats, who have been declared persona non grata by the Obama administration, arrived in the US only two months ago.

"According to US secret services, that provided the basis for the US administration’s decision, the Russian diplomats allegedly took part in some activities aimed at interfering in the US presidential election. In this regard, the year 2016 and the spring of 2016 have been mentioned. I would like to point out that some of the Russian diplomats who have been declared persona non grata, arrived in the US only two months ago," Zakharova stressed.

"It is not clear how they could have participated in the activities that, according to the secret services, took place in the spring of 2016," she added.

On December 29, the US department of State declared 35 Russian diplomats persona non grata as part of new sanctions against Russia. They were given 72 hours to leave the US.

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