MOSCOW, April 5. /TASS/. The US diplomats expelled from Russia left the building of the US diplomatic mission in Moscow in the small hours on Thursday. Earlier reports said they were ordered to leave the country by April 5.
Eyewitnesses told TASS that buses started to arrive at the embassy’s territory at around 4 am Moscow time. The convoy of vehicles left the diplomatic mission by 7 am Moscow time.
The American side has declined to comment on the details.
On March 26, Washington announced its decision to expel 60 Russian diplomats and close Russia’s Consulate General in Seattle. The move was prompted by the incident involving the alleged poisoning of former Russian military intelligence officer Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, in Salisbury, the UK. Some Western countries were quick to blame Russia for that but failed to produce any evidence.
On March 29, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov announced Moscow’s tit-for-tat steps. A total of 58 staff members of the US Embassy in Moscow and two employees of the US Consulate General in Yekaterinburg were declared personae non gratae for the activities incompatible with their diplomatic status. Russia also demanded that the US Consulate General in St. Petersburg be closed by March 31.