U.S. senators counsel expelling 300 Russian diplomats amid embassy dispute


WASHINGTON, Oct 5 (Reuters) – U.S. Democratic and Republican senators urged President Joe Biden on Tuesday to expel 300 Russian diplomats from the United States if Moscow doesn’t difficulty extra visas for Americans to characterize Washington in Russia.

The suggestion from the leaders of the Senate international relations and intelligence committees – Democrats Bob Menendez and Mark Warner and Republicans Jim Risch and Marco Rubio – would mark a pointy escalation in an ongoing dispute over embassy staffing amid rigidity between Washington and Moscow.

Russia in August banned the U.S. embassy in Moscow from retaining, hiring or contracting Russian or third-country workers, apart from guards, forcing the mission to let go 182 staff and dozens of contractors, the State Department mentioned. learn extra

That meant there are solely about 100 U.S. diplomats in Russia, in contrast with 400 Russian diplomats throughout the United States, the senators mentioned.

“This disproportionality in diplomatic representation is unacceptable. Accordingly, Russia must issue enough visas to approach parity between the number of American diplomats serving in Russia and the number of Russian diplomats serving in the United States,” the senators wrote in a letter to Biden.

If Moscow doesn’t accomplish that, they mentioned Biden ought to start expelling as many as 300 Russian diplomats.

The White House and State Department didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark.

Reporting by Patricia Zengerle
Editing by Marguerita Choy

Russian and U.S. state flags fly near a factory in Vsevolozhsk, Leningrad Region, Russia March 27, 2019. REUTERS/Anton Vaganov