24 Russian Diplomats Asked to Leave the US by September 3, Ambassador Antonov Says

Due to a unilaterally established three-year limit on the assignment period for Russian personnel in the US, Russia was handed a list of 24 diplomats who must leave the States by September 3, Russian ambassador in US Anatoly Antonov informed in an interview for The National Interest magazine.

According to Antonov, Russian diplomatic missions in the US are forced to work under restrictions that are not only unprecedented, but are stepped up in time.

The ambassador pointed to US’s persistent and creative ways to strike Russian diplomatic presence, including expulsions of diplomats under far-fetched pretexts unilaterally established a 3-year limit for Russian personnel that has not been applied to any other country.

Antonov also underlined that one of those ‘stumbling stones’ posted by the US, the tightened visa issuing procedures, is the reason Russian diplomats will leave the US without replacements.

Speaking to Russian media on Monday, Antonov said that Moscow expects a constructive approach to visa issues from Washington, noting that it’s time for US to take into account both states’ interests and revive mutually respectful dialogue.

According to Antonov, Russia suggested putting the diplomatic conflict to rest using the ‘small steps’ tactics like one-year extension for expired visas of diplomats or exemption of certain groups of employees from visa exchanges.

He noted that Russia outlined all these proposals in a diplomatic note back in February, but received no response.

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