MOSCOW, September 14. /TASS/. US Ambassador to Russia Lynne Tracy has been summoned to the Russian Foreign Ministry and issued a diplomatic note stating that the actions of the embassy’s first and second secretaries were inconsistent with diplomatic status, the ministry said.
They were declared personae non gratae and have to leave the country within seven days, it said.
"A harsh demarche was issued to the head of the US diplomatic mission in Moscow, Lynne Tracy, with an official diplomatic note handed to her regarding the actions of the first secretary of the US Embassy, Jeffrey Sillin, and the second secretary of the Embassy, David Bernstein, that are inconsistent with diplomatic status," the ministry said. "The aforementioned persons conducted illegal activities by maintaining contact with Russian citizen Robert Shonov, who is accused of 'confidential cooperation' with a foreign state."
"It was stated to the US ambassador that Jeffrey Sillin and David Bernstein must leave Russian territory within seven days in the status of personae non gratae," the ministry said.
Shonov was paid to do certain tasks that aimed to damage Russia's national security, according to the ministry.
The ministry said that illegal activities of the US Embassy, including interference in Russia’s internal affairs "is unacceptable and will be resolutely suppressed."
"The Russian side expects Washington to draw the right conclusions, while refraining from confrontational steps," the ministry stated.
Earlier, the Russian Federal Security Service, or FSB, released video footage of the interrogation of Shonov, who is a former employee of the US Consulate General in Vladivostok, where he pleaded guilty of gathering information about the special military operation on assignment from the diplomats from the political department of the US Embassy, Sillin and Bernstein, in exchange for a remuneration.
Shonov has been charged with confidential cooperation with a foreign country. The FSB has sent summonses to the US Embassy with the purpose of interrogating the diplomats that worked with Shonov.