MOSCOW, February 17. /TASS/. The United States’ deputy ambassador, Bart Gorman, was asked to leave Russia in retaliation for a Russian diplomat’s groundless expulsion from Washington, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova has said.
"We would like to make things clear regarding the departure of the deputy chief of the US diplomatic mission in Moscow, Bart Gorman, which some media have been trying to present as an intentional escalation on the Russian side. It is true that the US diplomat was told to leave Russia, but that was done strictly in retaliation for the groundless expulsion of a minister-counselor of our embassy in Washington, contrary to his senior diplomatic rank. Moreover, the US Department of State defiantly ignored our request for prolonging his stay at least until a substitute arrived. As a result, he had to leave without being replaced, which merely worsened the already critical shortage of personnel at the Russian embassy, which emerged as a result of the ‘visa war’ unleashed by the Americans," Zakharova said in an official commentary uploaded to the Foreign Ministry’s website.