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FACTBOX: Cases of US diplomats expelled from Russia

The Russian Foreign Ministry emphasized the inadmissibility of "unlawful activity and interference in Russia's internal affairs" by the American diplomatic mission employees

TASS-FACTBOX. On September 14, 2023, the Russian Foreign Ministry declared the first and second secretaries of the US Embassy Jeffrey Sillin and David Bernstein personae non gratae. The ministry emphasized the inadmissibility of "unlawful activity and interference in Russia's internal affairs" by American diplomatic mission employees, noting that these actions "will be resolutely suppressed." This is the 13th case of a US diplomat being expelled in the history of US-Russian relations.

TASS-FACTBOX editors have reviewed the previous incidents.


On February 28, 1994, CIA agent James Morris, who was working undercover as an advisor to the US embassy, was expelled from Russia. This was a response to the February 26 expulsion of Russian diplomat Alexander Lysenko from the US. The US authorities described him as "a high-ranking Russian Foreign Intelligence Service officer."


In July 1999, Pete Hoffman, assistant Army attache at the US Embassy in Moscow, was declared persona non grata. Both the Russian Foreign Ministry and the US State Department have not commented on this incident.

On November 29, 1999, Federal Security Service (FSB) officers detained Cherry Liebernight, second secretary of the US Embassy in the Russian Federation. This was in connection with "an act of espionage detrimental to Russia's security." On December 1, she was declared persona non grata. On December 8, the second secretary of the Russian Embassy Stanislav Gusev was expelled from the United States.


On March 27, 2001, Russia declared personae non gratae four US embassy officials for activities incompatible with diplomatic status. Among them was Paul Hollingsworth, who was the head of the CIA's agent intelligence sector in Moscow. Four days earlier, four Russian diplomats had been expelled from the United States for the same reason.


On April 28, 2008, Russia expelled two US diplomats. This was a retaliatory measure to the expulsion of two Russian diplomatic staff from the United States - one was expelled in November 2007, the other on April 22, 2008.


On May 15, 2013, Russia declared persona non grata US CIA officer Ryan Christopher Fogle, who was working undercover as a third level diplomat in the US Embassy in Moscow. The day before, he had been detained by the FSB while attempting to recruit an employee from Russia’s special services.


On July 9, 2016, Moscow declared two US diplomats personae non gratae for activities incompatible with their status (both worked undercover for the US intelligence services). Earlier on June 17, the United States expelled two Russian diplomats under the same wording.


On July 28, 2017, after US Congress approved the Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act, the Russian Foreign Ministry suggested Washington equalize the number of staff working at the US embassy in Moscow and at the consulates general in St. Petersburg, Yekaterinburg, and Vladivostok with the number of Russian embassy staff in the United States. Thus, the staff employed at the US diplomatic and consular offices in Russia was reduced by 755 people to 455 employees. Even the Cold War years did not see an expulsion on such a scale.


On March 29, 2018. Russia announced the expulsion of 60 US diplomats. The measure was taken in response to the US’ decision to expel 60 Russian diplomats on March 26. This was related to the Russian-attributed dispatch of ex-GRU colonel Sergey Skripal in the British city of Salisbury on March 4 of the same year.


On April 16, 2021, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov announced the expulsion of ten American diplomats. "This is a tit-for-tat response to the hostile actions of the US side, which unjustifiably declared a number of employees of the Russian embassy in Washington and the Russian Consulate General in New York, personae non gratae," the Russian Foreign Ministry explained. On April 15, the US authorities imposed a tough package of sanctions against Russia, providing for, as part of this, the expulsion of ten Russian diplomats from the country. According to the US presidential administration, they "attempted to influence the US presidential election in 2020, and carried out other acts of disinformation and interference."


On February 17, 2022, Bartle Gorman, deputy chief of mission US Embassy in Moscow, was expelled. The Russian Foreign Ministry specified that Moscow had ordered Gorman to leave Russia in response to the US side's expulsion of the Russian embassy's Minister Counselor without replacing him with another employee. The expulsion accompanied the State Department's refusal to issue and extend visas to Russian diplomats under the pretext of ending and shortening business trips. On February 25, the United States responded by declaring persona non grata Sergey Trepelkov, Minister Counselor of the Russian Embassy in Washington.

On March 23, 2022, the Russian Foreign Ministry handed over to the US Embassy a list of diplomatic staff declared personae non gratae in response to Washington's expulsion of diplomats from the Russian Permanent Mission to the United Nations in New York and a Russian employee of the UN Secretariat in late February. The specific names and number of expelled persons were not reported.