Moscow: Moscow expelled US Deputy Chief of Mission to Russia Bart Gorman from the country, the US embassy in Moscow told RIA Novosti.
“We can confirm that Russia expelled U.S. Deputy Chief of Mission (DCM) to Russia Bart Gorman. DCM Gorman was the second-most senior official at U.S. Embassy Moscow after the Ambassador and a key member of the Embassy’s senior leadership team,” the embassy said.
“Russia’s action against our DCM was unprovoked and we consider this an escalating step and are considering our response. DCM Gorman’s tour had not ended; he had a valid visa, and he had been in Russia less than three years,” the embassy said.
The diplomatic mission called on Russia “to end its baseless expulsions of U.S. diplomats and staff and to work productively to rebuild our missions.”
“Now more than ever, it is critical that our countries have the necessary diplomatic personnel in place to facilitate communication between our governments. We note that Russia’s actions have led to the U.S. mission to Russia being staffed at levels well below the Russian mission to the United States. Our goal is to bring greater parity and reciprocity to our missions,” it said.
As the US embassy stated, the Russian Deputy Chief of Mission to the US has also departed Washington due to the completion of his duties.
“Russia’s DCM recently departed in a regular diplomatic rotation at the end of his tour in January,” US embassy spokesman Jason Rebholz told RIA Novosti.
On February 6, Russian Ambassador to the US Anatoly Antonov unveiled that 27 Russian diplomats had departed Washington in late January, with 28 more expected to leave by June 30. The ambassador said the US Department of State also raised the issue of his own departure in the event if Russia refuses to issue visas for the guards of US Ambassador in Moscow.
On February 3, Russian and US officials held consultations on normalizing the operations of their embassies, however, according to Antonov, the talks brought no results.
In early February, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov said that US diplomats were leaving the embassy in Moscow in line with Russia’s requirements, while the process of reducing the diplomatic staff continues through no fault of Moscow.