Russia is moving to expel some American diplomats from the country after the US removed 12 Russian diplomats late last month.
The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement on Wednesday that a note listing names of diplomats now considered “persona non grata” – meaning no longer welcome in the country – was given to a senior diplomat at the US Embassy in Moscow, CNN reported.
“The American side was firmly told that any hostile actions of the United States against Russia would receive a decisive and adequate response,” the statement said, according to the network.
It was not immediately clear how many diplomats were being expelled or which ones.
A State Department spokesperson confirmed the US Embassy received a list of expelled American diplomats.
“This is Russia’s latest unhelpful and unproductive step in our bilateral relationship. We call on the Russia government to end its unjustified expulsions of US diplomats and staff,” the spokesperson said in a statement. “Now more than ever, it is critical that our countries have the necessary diplomatic personnel in place to facilitate communication between our governments.”
The US expelled 12 Russian diplomats at the United Nations in late February for alleged espionage activities.
“The US has informed the Russian Mission that we are beginning the process of expelling 12 intelligence operatives from the Russian Mission who have abused their privileges of residency in the US by engaging in espionage activities that are adverse to our national security,” Olivia Dalton, spokeswoman for the US ambassador to the United Nations, said at the time.
The latest development comes as Russia rounds out the fourth week of its invasion of Ukraine.
The Hill has reached out to the State Department and Russian Embassy in Washington, DC, for comment.
Update: 8:28 pm