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Russian diplomats declared personae non gratae to leave US on March 31

The Russian government has provided two jets for the evacuation, Antonov said

WASHINGTON, March 31. /TASS/. The Russian diplomats, whom the US has declared personae non gratae, leave for Moscow on Saturday, March 31, the Russian Ambassador in Washington, Anatoly Antonov told a group of Russian reporters on Friday.

"On March 31, all the diplomats whom the US declared personae non gratae, leave the US together with their families," he said, adding that the overall number of people going out of the US is 171.

The Russian government has provided two jets for the evacuation, Antonov said. "One of the jets will call into the US for no more than two or three hours and will pick up fourteen families. It will fly directly to Moscow."

"The Embassy has ensured all the conditions for an unrushed and organized packing, so that everyone could pack their bags without haste," Antonov said.

The loading of luggage into one of the jets began on Friday.

The US declared an expulsion of 60 Russian diplomats - 46 from the embassy in Washington, two from the Consulate General in New York and twelve from the Russian mission at the UN headquarters - on March 26 in show of solidarity with the UK’s unsubstantiated claims that Russia stood behind an alleged poisoning of the former military intelligence officer and British spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury on March 4.

Washington also closed down the Russian Consulate General in Seattle.

Russia reciprocated by sending away 60 American diplomats and closing down the US Consulate General in St Petersburg.