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Newsline: Russia says deputy chief of mission at US embassy was expelled in response to “provocation,” US accuses Russia of ‘escalatory’ move

Moscow expelled US Deputy Chief of Mission to Russia Bart Gorman in response to a provocation, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Friday. “As for the expulsion of the US diplomat, it was a retaliatory measure, and once again, it cannot be a measure that is an action that provokes something. It was a response to a provocation,” he clarified. (https://tass.com/politics/1405929) Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Thursday that Gorman had been told to leave Russia in response to the unjustified expulsion of a minister counselor at the Russian Embassy in Washington DC. The United States accused Russia of having expelled the second-most senior diplomat at the US embassy in Moscow without any justification, calling it an “escalatory” move at a time of heightened alert over the Ukraine crisis. US Deputy Chief of Mission in Moscow Bart Gorman, who is second only to the ambassador at the embassy, was expelled by Russia earlier this year and given two weeks to depart the country, according to a senior US State Department official. Gorman left Russia last week and has returned to the United States, the official said. A US State Department spokesperson on Thursday confirmed Russia had expelled Gorman and said the action was “unprovoked.” “We consider this an escalatory step and are considering our response,” the spokesperson said. (https://edition.cnn.com/2022/02/17/politics/russia-expels-deputy-us-official/index.html) Russia has continually forced the US to reduce the size of its diplomatic footprint in the country in recent years. Gorman had been in Russia fewer three years with a valid visa and his tour had not ended, the spokesperson said, also noting that Gorman is a key member of the embassy’s senior leadership team.

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