Russian Foreign Minister orders US diplomats to leave country

Written by Staff Writer

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov ordered some US diplomats to leave the country “until further notice,” he told reporters in Moscow on Friday, describing the expulsions as a “consequence of the decision by the US Congress to impose additional sanctions on Russia.”

He also accused the United States of deploying weapons to Europe and said it was “important for us to restore Russian-American cooperation, which is fragile and at the moment severely impaired, as a matter of principle.”

The sanctions passed overwhelmingly by the US Congress this week add to existing punitive measures imposed after Russia’s alleged meddling in the 2016 US presidential election and annexation of Crimea.

Russia’s foreign ministry said on Friday that it had issued a recall travel ban on members of the US mission to Russia’s embassy and consulates.

The US Embassy in Moscow confirmed the evacuation in a tweet, but gave no further details.

On Thursday, the US State Department confirmed that six Russian diplomats had left the country in the past two days.

Russia’s Foreign Ministry said all 18 members of its embassy in Washington will be returning to Russia “over the coming days,” according to the RIA Novosti state news agency.

CNN has contacted the State Department for comment and will update this article when available.

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