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Russian ambassador Anatoly Antonov
Russian ambassador Anatoly AntonovImage: REUTERS/S. Karpukhin

US wants 24 Russian diplomats out by September 3

August 2, 2021

Russia's ambassador to the US said the diplomats' visas are expiring September 3. The US has requested the 24 Russian diplomats leave when their visas expire.


The US requested 24 Russian diplomats leave the country when their US visas expire September 3, Russian media reported Monday citing the Russian Ambassador to the US Anatoly Antonov.

Anatoly griped to the Washington-based The National Interest in a little-noticed interview published Sunday and shared by the Russsian Embassy on Facebook Monday that in addition to the lack of visa renewals for his personnel, the US imposed a three-year restriction on Russian diplomats' tenure in the US. 

Antonov said, "The expulsions of diplomats are implemented under far-fetched pretexts now and then."

He also said there are instances where the children and spouses of Russian diplomats have had their visas revoked without explanation.

US describes Antonov's statements as 'not accurate'

State Department spokesman Ned Price said Monday Antonov's "characterization of the situation is not accurate." He said the three-year visas are "nothing new".

It is the first known instance of the US adjusting its stance towards Russian diplomats within the US following high profile meetings in Geneva between US President Joe Biden and Russian leader Vladimir Putin in June and later US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman and Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov last month.

Despite the perceived setback for Russsia's diplomatic mission in Washington, in The National Interest interview, Antonov said, "we can positively assess the agreement between the two presidents to restore professional and systemic dialogue on key topics of mutual interest," such as "strategic stability, cybersecurity and functioning of diplomatic missions."

New rules curtail US diplomatic efforts in Russia

Last week, the US announced it was forced to lay off 182 local Russian staff in all areas of its diplomatic missions in Russia "except our guard force" to meet a deadline for doing so set by the Russian government, according to a statement. 

Police officers walk past the building of the US Embassy in Novinsky Boulevard in central Moscow
The US diplomatic missions in Russia were forced to let go of 182 local staff Image: ergei Fadeichev/TASS/dpa/picture alliance

Price said, "these measures have a negative impact on the U.S. mission to Russia's operations, potentially on the safety and security of our personnel." 

He added the State Department understands the Russian government is poised to enforce similar actions against some US allies.

ar/aw (Interfax, Reuters)

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