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MOSCOW, January 2. /TASS/. The plane of the Russian government’s Rossiya Special Flight Detachment, carrying Russian diplomats who were declared persona non grata in the United States, landed in Moscow early on Monday.
The plane with the diplomats and their families on board departed from Washington’s Dulles International Airport on Sunday afternoon.
On December 29, the outgoing US administration slapped new sanctions on Moscow over the alleged hacking into US political institutions. These sanctions apply to several Russian companies, the Federal Security Service and the Main Intelligence Agency of Russia’s General Staff. Besides that, the US authorities declared 35 Russian diplomats persona non grata and shut down two recreational compounds in New York and Maryland owned by the Russian government.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said that Moscow would not "stoop to the level of the so-called ‘catfight’" and expel US diplomats from Russia in response to "unfriendly actions by the outgoing US administration." He also invited children of US diplomats accredited in Moscow to visit the famed New Year and Christmas celebrations for children in the Kremlin.
Children of the expelled Russian diplomats were invited to attend the Kremlin party as well, the Kremlin said early on Tuesday.