18:30 GMT +305 December 2019
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    Moscow Confirms Deportation of Russian Diplomats From US

    © AFP 2019 / Mario TAMA
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    The Russian Foreign Ministry confirmed on Saturday that Russian diplomats were deported from the United States. The ministry said that Washington urged Russian diplomats to leave the US, while not voicing any complaints concerning their activity.

    On Friday, US Department of State spokesperson John Kirby said that US authorities have expelled two Russian officials from the United States after an alleged attack by a law enforcement officer on a US diplomat in Moscow.

    "I can confirm that, with reference to the above-described case, the US government really has demanded the departure of two staff members of the Russian Embassy in Washington, DC, without presenting any complaints to them. And the US State Department at a high level proposed us not to make this fact public. As you can see, American diplomats don't stand by their own words," Ryabkov said.

    According to Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov, American diplomats were deported after the "unfriendly move" from Russia and declared persons non-grata due to their activity incompatible with diplomatic status.

    On June 6, media reports claimed that a Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) guard stationed outside the US embassy in Moscow got into a physical altercation with an American diplomat who was allegedly attempting to enter the compound.

    Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told reporters last week that video of the incident actually shows the US diplomat attacking a Russian police officer.

    Zakharova further noted that the US diplomat was a CIA agent who was returning from an intelligence operation that night.

    Ryabkov said Saturday that the US diplomat involved in the incident, as well as a "CIA operative" were those US diplomats deported from Russia.

    Ryabkov said Moscow will respond to further escalation by the US in bilateral relations. Moscow hopes that Washington realizes the damage of its aggressive policy toward Russia, the ministry added.

    "We hope that Washington understands that the aggressive anti-Russian stance is vicious. If it decides to move further along the path of escalation, we won't leave it unanswered," Ryabkov said.

    Related:

    US Expels Two Russian Officials After Alleged Attack on US Diplomat
    US Aware of Video of Incident Between Russian Police, American Diplomat
    Russian Foreign Ministry Disputes Alleged Use of Force Against US Diplomat
    Tags:
    deportation, diplomat, Russian Foreign Ministry, Sergei Ryabkov, United States, Russia
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