MOSCOW, April 2. /TASS/. The Kremlin hopes that Russia and the United States will ultimately fill the vacancies after the expulsion of diplomats, Russian president’s aide Yuri Ushakov said on Monday.
"We are convinced that these vacancies [after the expulsion of Russian diplomats from the US and US diplomats from Russia] will not remain as such and will be ultimately filled, both in the US and in Russia," he told journalists. "So far, we cannot say how it would actually be done, since our diplomats have already left the United States while US diplomats are still in Russia."
"These expulsions, you know, are to one’s own prejudice, since, as a rule, they entail a tit-for-tat response," he said. "I don’t know what the Americans were after when they expelled 60 diplomats. If they wanted to reduce their diplomatic staff in Russia, it could have been done without expelling our diplomats."
In a show of solidarity with London’s stance over the reported poisoning of Sergei Skripal and his daughter in Salisbury, the United States declared 60 Russian diplomats personae non gratae on March 26. Among them are 46 diplomats from the embassy in Washington, two from the consulate general in New York and 12 more from Russia’s mission to the United Nations.
On Thursday, US Ambassador to Russia Jon Huntsman was summoned to Russia’s Foreign Ministry to be notified that Russia declared 58 diplomats of the US Embassy in Moscow and two staff members of the Consulate General in Yekaterinburg personae non gratae, they were ordered to leave the country by April 5. Besides, Russia revoked the consent to the operation of the US consulate-general in St. Petersburg.