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Russia expels US deputy chief of mission in retaliation

Bart Gorman, the deputy chief of mission at the US Embassy in Moscow, has been expelled from Russia in a retaliatory move, the Foreign Ministry confirmed.

Gorman was ordered to leave in response to the “unjustified” expulsion of the minister-counselor of the Russian Embassy in Washington, Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova said in a statement on Thursday, following media reports earlier in the day.

The US Department of State “defiantly” ignored Moscow’s request to extend the Russian diplomat’s stay at least until the arrival of his successor, Xinhua news agency quoted the spokesperson as saying.

The minister-counsellor’s forced departure without a replacement aggravated the already critical shortage of personnel in the Russian diplomatic mission amid a “visa war” initiated by the Americans, Zakharova stressed.

She recalled that the US has demanded the departure of 55 Russian diplomats as well as administrative and technical employees in two stages — by January 30 and June 30 this year.

“In the understanding of the US administration, the normalisation of bilateral relations is a one-way street, where only American interests are ensured and everything else is ignored,” Zakharova said.