MOSCOW, February 18. /TASS/. Moscow expelled US Deputy Chief of Mission to Russia Bart Gorman in response to a provocation, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Friday.
"As for the expulsion of the US diplomat, it was a retaliatory measure, and once again, it cannot be a measure that is an action that provokes something. It was a response to a provocation," he clarified.
Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Thursday that Gorman had been told to leave Russia in response to the unjustified expulsion of a minister counselor at the Russian Embassy in Washington DC.
Zakharova noted that the US Department of State had blatantly ignored Moscow’s request to extend the diplomat’s stay in the US at least until his replacement arrived. As a result, in Zakharova’s words, the minister counselor had to leave while there was no one to replace him, which "exacerbated the already tough diplomatic staff shortage at the Russian mission, caused by a ‘visa war’ unleashed by the Americans.".