US Weighs Response After Russia Expels Deputy Ambassador Gorman

The US State Department’s spokesman said on Thursday that Washington is weighing American response after Russia has expelled Bart Gorman, the US deputy chief of mission to Russia, amid heightened fears of a Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Calling the banishment unprovoked, the State Department spokesperson noted that Russia’s action against Gorman was unprovoked and that the State Department considers this an escalatory step and is considering its response.

According to Russia’s Foreign Ministry, which has accused the United States of unleashing a visa war, Gorman was forced to leave Moscow in response to the unreasonable expulsion of a senior Russian official by Washington.

Washington and Moscow have been engaged in a tussle over their respective diplomatic presences with Russia insisting in December that US Embassy staff who have been in the post for more than three years should return home.

The State Department stressed that Gorman had a valid visa and had been in Russia for less than three years, calling on Russia to end its baseless expulsions of US diplomats and staff.

The US demands to Russian diplomats to leave the country if their visas expire are sent five months in advance, while Moscow gives two weeks to diplomats with valid visas to leave the country.

The Department emphasized the importance of the US working productively to rebuild its missions in a sensitive atmosphere in which is critical that both countries have the necessary diplomatic personnel in place to facilitate communication between the respected governments. 

Just as a reminder, the expulsion of Gorman comes during a months-long standoff over a Russian buildup of more than 150,000 troops near its border with Ukraine.

Gorman, the second most senior US official at the Embassy in Moscow, left Russia last week, so it was unclear why the expulsion was not announced until Thursday.

According to a biography on the embassy’s website, he previously served as the State Department’s deputy assistant secretary and assistant director for threat investigations and analysis, overseeing and monitoring of threats against US diplomatic personnel.

He has also served in countries including Iraq, Jordan, and China as a regional security officer of the US Diplomatic Security Service, the department’s law enforcement and security arm.

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