WASHINGTON, November 30. /TASS/. The US Department of State is trying to delude the international public, deliberately distorting facts about the expulsion of Russian diplomats from the US, Russian Ambassador to the United States Anatoly Antonov said on Monday in Washington.
Asked to comment on the statement by State Department’s Deputy Spokesperson Jalina Porter who said the departure of 55 Russian diplomats from the US cannot be regarded as an expulsion or a punitive measure, Antonov said: "The State Department is being cunning again. The US Side is trying to delude the American and international public, deliberately distorting the facts."
The US Department of State has made it clear that in case of refusal to fulfil this request, the immunity and other diplomatic privileges of the Russian employees will be revoked, the diplomat noted. "The claim that the departure of 55 Russian diplomats cannot be regarded as an expulsion also begs the question. The US Side has made it clear that in case of refusal to fulfil this request, the immunity and other diplomatic privileges of the Russian employees will be revoked. This means a de facto expulsion," he emphasized.
"It was particularly the Department of State that in December 2020 unilaterally introduced a three-year limit on long-term assignments for employees of the Embassy in Washington, D.C., and Russian Consulates General in New York and Houston. Please take note that other diplomatic missions have a five-year tour limit," Ambassador said.
According to Antonov, "the United States is trying to limit the sovereign right of the Russian Federation to take staffing decisions with respect to its diplomatic missions at its own discretion."
Porter noted that Washington makes the same demands to Russian diplomats as Moscow to US diplomats. She added that the US would continue to discuss the issue with Russia.