Russia has expelled number two from the United States embassy, Bartle Gorman. The United States Department of State announced on Thursday.
Washington is expected to respond with a similar move.
“We call on Russia to end the unwarranted expulsions of US diplomats. We are thinking about our response,” said a spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. “The eviction is gratuitous, and we consider this an escalation.” However, the spokesman emphasised that Gorman had a valid visa and his mandate was not yet over.
The announcement comes as Moscow has handed over its written response to Washington’s proposals on security in Europe to US Ambassador John Sullivan.
The reason for Gorman’s deportation is as yet unclear. However, relations between Moscow and Washington are below freezing as the US warns almost daily of a possible invasion of Ukraine.