MOSCOW, March 24. /TASS/. The United States must stop expelling Russian diplomats, if it wants Russia to stop expelling American ones, Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov told the media on Thursday.
"If it wants us to stop expelling American diplomats, the United States must stop the expulsions of our diplomats. Our actions are not the root cause of this crisis. They are forced and retaliatory measures," Peskov said.
Earlier, the US Department of State issued a call "on the Russian government to end its unjustified expulsions of U.S. diplomats and staff."
"Now more than ever, it is critical that our countries have the necessary diplomatic personnel in place to facilitate communication between our governments," the Department of State spokesperson added.
Earlier, the US embassy in Russia was handed a note with a list of US staffers declared as personae non gratae. The American side was notified that any hostile actions by the United States would entail "a resolute and proportionate response," the Russian Foreign Ministry said.
This measure was taken in retaliation for Washington’s expulsion of diplomats from Russia’s UN mission in New York and a Russian staffer of the UN Secretariat.