Russia’s ambassador slams US move to expel two Russian diplomats as `banal revenge’

WASHINGTON:  Washington provided no arguments for its decision to expel two Russian diplomats which does not do credit to American diplomacy...


WASHINGTON:  Washington provided no arguments for its decision to expel two Russian diplomats which does not do credit to American diplomacy and is, in fact, "banal revenge," Russian Ambassador to the US Anatoly Antonov said.

"I can confirm that, a few days ago, the US authorities took another confrontational step to declare two diplomats of the Russian Embassy in Washington, D.C., personae non gratae," he said. "Surprising here is the fact that our colleagues in the State Department, when handing over the note on expulsion, assured us - for some reason - that they had no intention to publicize this story and share details with the media," he added.

According to Antonov, "as has happened many times before, we have again been misled, contrary to the basic norms of diplomatic communication. For the [Biden] Administration, it is important to show that the recent expulsion of US diplomats from Russia for subversion has not gone unanswered."

"It is noteworthy that at the meeting at the State Department I asked my interlocutors to explain what exactly our comrades were accused of and I received no arguments," the Russian diplomat lamented. "Unless the reasoning that the authorities of the host country are not obliged to explain anything counts as such. Thus, this is, in fact, banal revenge, which does not do credit to American diplomacy," he underscored.

Antonov also warned the US side of an appropriate response to any attempts on the part of employees of the US Embassy in Moscow to undermine Russian national security. "I would like to emphasize once again that the employees of the US Embassy in Moscow were found guilty of actions incompatible with diplomatic work. The expelled Americans were essentially interfering in internal affairs and attempting to undermine Russia's national security. Any actions of this kind will be firmly suppressed and will receive an appropriate response," he warned.

Tit for tat?

The US State Department’s spokesperson told a TASS correspondent on Friday that Washington had decided to order two Russian diplomats to leave American territory in response to a recent similar move by Moscow.

On September 14, the Russian Foreign Ministry reported that two employees of the US Embassy in Moscow were declared personae non gratae. US Ambassador to Moscow Lynne Tracy was summoned to the Foreign Ministry, where she was handed a note explaining that the actions of the first and second secretaries of the embassy were incompatible with their diplomatic status. These two employees of the American diplomatic mission in Moscow were ordered to leave Russia.

Tracy was issued an official note regarding the undiplomatic actions of Jeffrey Sillin, First Secretary of the Embassy, and David Bernstein, Second Secretary. According to the Foreign Ministry, these persons were engaged in illegal activities, maintaining contact with a Russian citizen, Robert Shonov, accused of "confidential cooperation" with a foreign state. As the authorities had previously stated, he was paid to carry out tasks that would damage Russia’s national security.

Earlier, the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) circulated footage of the interrogation of Shonov, a former employee of the US Consulate General in Vladivostok, in which he pleads guilty to collecting data on the course of a special military operation on instructions from diplomats from the political department of the American Embassy — Sillin and Bernstein. Shonov was charged with cooperation on a confidential basis with a foreign state (Article 275.1 of the Russian Criminal Code). The FSB sent subpoenas to the US Embassy to interrogate the diplomats who worked with Shonov.


-News Feed

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Local Glob: Russia’s ambassador slams US move to expel two Russian diplomats as `banal revenge’
Russia’s ambassador slams US move to expel two Russian diplomats as `banal revenge’
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