U.S. Rejects Russian Envoy's Claim Diplomats Were Asked To Leave Country

The U.S. State Department has rejected a claim by Russia's ambassador to the United States who said Washington had asked 24 Russian diplomats to leave the country by September 3 after their visas expired.
State Department spokesman Ned Price said on August 2 that the Russian diplomats "can apply for an extension" of their visas. Such "applications are reviewed on a case by case basis," he added. In an interview with the National Interest magazine, Russian envoy Anatoly Antonov said that the embassy received a list of 24 Russian diplomats who are expected to leave by September 3. "Almost all of them will leave without replacements because Washington has abruptly tightened visa-issuing procedures," Antonov said in the interview published on August 1. Last week, the State Department said it had laid off 182 local employees from its diplomatic missions in Russia ahead of an August 1 deadline set by the Kremlin to do so. The move by the Kremlin came after Washington expelled Russian diplomats from the United States and tit-for-tat closures of diplomatic facilities in both countries amid deteriorating relations. Russia announced its ban after President Joe Biden signed an executive order on April 15 outlining the expulsions of 10 Russian diplomats and sanctions against dozens of Russian individuals and entities. Biden signed the order in response to Russian interference in the 2020 U.S. presidential election, the arrest of Russian opposition leader Aleksei Navalny, and other actions against the United States and its interests.

Based on reporting by Reuters and AP

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