Russia will expel 60 US diplomats and close the US Consulate General in St. Petersburg, the country’s foreign minister Sergey Lavrov announced on March 29.
“US Ambassador to Russia Jon Huntsman has been summoned to our ministry, where my deputy Sergei Ryabkov is briefing him on the tit-for-tat steps against the US,” Lavrov said, according to the sate-run news agency TASS. “They include the expulsion of the same number of diplomats and our decision to withdraw consent to the work of the Consulate General in St. Petersburg.”
Under the Russian decision, the building of the Consulate General in St Petersburg should be freed from US officials not later than March 31.
58 employees of the US Embassy in Moscow and two staff members of the Consulate General in Yekaterinburg “have been declared personae non gratae for the activities incompatible with their diplomatic status.” They have to leave the contry by April 5, 2018.
The Russian move is a response to the earlier US decision to expel 60 Russian diplomats from the US and to close the Russian consulate in Seattle.