MOSCOW, April 1. /TASS/. The first plane carrying Russian diplomats expelled by the United States over the so-called Skripal case has landed at Moscow’s Vnukovo-2 airport, a TASS correspondent reports from the scene.
The Il-96 plane brought home 46 staff members of Russia’s embassy in Washington and their family members.
Russia sent two Il-96 planes to the United States to bring home diplomats and their family members after Washington’s decision to join the anti-Russia sanctions over the reported poisoning of former Russian military intelligence officer Sergei Skripal and his daughter in Salisbury in the UK.
Later on Sunday, the second plane will deliver a group of Russian diplomats from New York - 14 staff members of the Consulate General and Russia’s Permanent Mission at the United Nations together with their family members.
Expulsion of diplomats
In a show of solidarity with London’s stance over the reported poisoning of Sergei Skripal and his daughter in Salisbury, the United States declared 60 Russian diplomats personae non gratae on March 26. Among them are 46 diplomats from the embassy in Washington, two from the consulate general in New York and 12 more from Russia’s mission to the United Nations.
On Thursday, US Ambassador to Russia Jon Huntsman was summoned to Russia’s Foreign Ministry to be notified that Russia declared 58 diplomats of the US Embassy in Moscow and two staff members of the Consulate General in Yekaterinburg personae non gratae, they were ordered to leave the country by April 5. Besides, Russia revoked the consent to the operation of the US consulate-general in St. Petersburg.