US Confirms Expelling No. 2 Diplomat at Russian Embassy
21:29 GMT 24.02.2022 (Updated: 21:31 GMT 24.02.2022)
© AP Photo / Carolyn KasterThe Russian flag flies on the grounds of the Embassy of the Russian Federation in Washington, Thursday, April 15, 2021.
© AP Photo / Carolyn Kaster
WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - The United States informed the Russian Embassy in Washington that it is expelling its Minister Counselor in a tit-for-tat move, a State Department spokesperson confirmed to Sputnik on Thursday.
"We can confirm that the United States informed the Russian Embassy that we are expelling its Minister Counselor," the spokesperson said. "The Russian Deputy Chief of Mission previously departed as part of a normal rotation. The Minister Counselor is the next most senior official at the Russian Embassy."
The spokesperson said the decision is in response to the Russian expulsion of the Deputy Chief of the US Mission in Moscow.
After the republics of Donetsk and Lugansk requested aid to defend themselves from continued attacks by Ukrainian troops, Russia started a special operation in the early hours of Thursday. According to the Russian Defense Ministry, the operation is aimed against Ukraine's military infrastructure, and the civilian population is unaffected. Moscow has stated that it has no intention of occupying Ukraine.
Later, the Russian Defense Ministry stressed that the Russian Armed Forces has not launched any missile, air or artillery strikes on the cities of Ukraine: military infrastructure, air defense facilities, military airfields and aviation were disabled by high-precision weapons.