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Two US diplomats have been expelled from Moscow, after the White House said it had ordered two Russian embassy staff to leave Washington.

On July 8, the US State Department said their move came after a Russian policeman attacked a US diplomat near the US embassy in Moscow.

That US diplomat has now been expelled from Moscow, along with one other embassy worker.

The Kremlin accused the men of being CIA agents.

Photo Reuters

Photo Reuters

Russian deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said both US embassy staff were expelled for “activities incompatible with their diplomatic status”.

State department spokesman John Kirby said the two Russian officials, who have not been named, were told to leave on June 17.

John Kirby said that earlier that month, a Russian policeman attacked a US diplomat near the US embassy in Moscow.

“The action was unprovoked and it endangered the safety of our employee,” he said.

“The Russian claim that the policeman was protecting the embassy from an unidentified individual is simply untrue.”

Russia said earlier this week that the US official was a CIA agent who had refused to provide his identification papers and hit the policeman in the face.

In June, US officials said harassment against US diplomats by Russian security and intelligence services was on the rise.

According to the Washington Post, that included breaking into the homes of embassy staff, rearranging furniture and even killing a family pet.

Russia has denied the allegation that security staff mistreated the US diplomat. It said the diplomat worked for the CIA and had refused to show ID papers.

Russian media have also released a footage showing what they say was the scuffle between the US diplomat and the Russian policeman.

In response to seeing its two diplomats ordered to leave Washington, the Kremlin announced its move on July 9.

“After their unfriendly step two employees of the United States embassy had to leave Moscow,” Sergei Ryabkov said.

“They were declared persona non grata for activities incompatible with their diplomatic status.”

No official response has been made by Russia to the allegations of harassment of US diplomats. A statement to the Washington Post said there had been US provocation against Russian diplomats.


Venezuela has given the United States 15 days to dramatically reduce the number of diplomats it has in the country.

Foreign Minister Delcy Rodriguez said the US should decide which of its 100 diplomats should be sent home.

She said the goal was to bring the balance down to 17 – the number of Venezuelan diplomats in the US.

On February 28, President Nicolas Maduro said the US had been meddling in Venezuela’s affairs.

He said American citizens visiting Venezuela would now be required to apply for visas charged at the same rates levied on Venezuelans wishing to visit the US.

Nicolas Maduro said Venezuela would also issue a list of banned politicians who it considered to have promoted human rights abuses.Delcy Rodriguez Venezuela

Earlier this month the US imposed visa restrictions on unnamed Venezuelan officials it accused of human rights violations and corruption.

The move builds on sanctions imposed last year on Venezuelan officials alleged to have violated the rights of protesters during demonstrations that shook the country in the first six months of 2014.

Nicolas Maduro has frequently accused the US of working with opposition groups against his government.

Earlier this year Nicolas Maduro said the US had attempted to encourage a coup that involved bombing the presidential palace. Washington rejected the accusations as ludicrous.

Venezuela and the US have not exchanged ambassadors for the last five years.

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