Get our newsletter delivered directly to your inbox
I have already subscribed | Do not show this message again
Your email has been successfully registered.
Russia's ambassador to the United States stated that Washington had requested 24 Russian diplomats leave the country by September 3 once their visas expire, further heightening tensions between the two countries.
In an interview with the National Interest magazine published this Sunday, RUssian Ambassador Anatoly Antonov did not clarify whether the U.S. warning was prompted by a particular dispute, saying nearly all of the diplomats would be leaving without replacements "because Washington has abruptly tightened visa issuing procedures."
U.S. State Department spokesperson Ned Price said on Monday in response that Washington was not using Russian diplomats' visas to retaliate against Moscow, alleging the ambassador's characterization was "not accurate."
Price said it was "nothing new" that Russians have to apply for an extension to their visas after three years, saying those applications are reviewed on a case-by-case basis.
Moscow and Washington have long differed over numerous ssues, and ties worsened even more so after U.S. President Joe Biden said he believed Russian President Vladimir Putin was a killer.
Although tensions somewhat eased after Biden met Putin in person on June 16, leading to the return of some foreign investors' money into Russian government bonds, Russia this month banned the U.S. embassy in Moscow from retaining, hiring or contracting Russian or third-country staff, except for guards.
The decision led the mission to let go of 182 employees and dozens of contractors, the State Department announced on Friday.
"We reserve the right to take appropriate response measures to Russia's actions," Price said during a press briefing on Monday.
Washington imposed sanctions on Russia in March and April for allegedly interfering in last year’s U.S. presidential election, as well as over claims of cyber hacking, bullying Ukraine and other alleged malign actions. Price said those moves were "a response" rather than an escalation.
In the interview, Russia's Ambassador Antonov said: "We hope that common sense will prevail and we will be able to normalize the life of Russian and American diplomats in the United States and Russia on the principle of reciprocity."