The Russian embassy in the United States announced earlier that two specially-chartered aircraft of the Russian 'Rossiya' federal air fleet had landed in Washington DC to pick up the diplomats and their families. The head of the Russian diplomatic mission to the US, Anatoly Antonov, reportedly accompanied the expelled diplomats to the airport. No incidents during the compulsory departure of his colleagues were reported.
Посол А.И.Антонов проводил коллег и членов их семей, которые покидают сегодня США по решению американской стороны.— Пос-во России🇷🇺 в США (@RussiaInUSA) 31 марта 2018 г.
Ambassador Anatoly Antonov bids his farewell to our colleagues and their family members, who are leaving the American soil today due to a US decision. pic.twitter.com/DJaFfB2zJY
Earlier in the day, Antonov said that the Skripal case was a pretext to carry out a war of words against Russia that has been planned for a long period of time.
The Russian Foreign Ministry, in response, announced the expulsion of 58 US diplomatic staff from the US embassy in Moscow alongside two employees from the US Consulate General in Yekaterinburg, and the closure of the US Consulate General in the northern Russian city of St. Petersburg.