MOSCOW: Moscow on Saturday said it had expelled two US diplomats as a retaliatory move after Washington turned out two Russian officials over an attack on a US embassy worker last month. “After their unfriendly step two employees of the United States embassy had to leave Moscow,” Russia’s deputy foreign minister Sergei Ryabkov said. “They were declared persona non grata for activities incompatible with their diplomatic status.”
Ryabkov accused the two US diplomats of being CIA agents and said that one of them had been involved in a brawl with a policeman in Moscow that sparked the tit-for-tat expulsions. “We hope Washington recognises all the same the perversity of its anti-Russian line. If they decide to move further along the path of escalation it will not remain unanswered,” Ryabkov warned.
The United States State Department on Friday announced that it had expelled two Russian officials over an attack on a US diplomat in Moscow last month by a policeman. State Department spokesman John Kirby said that on June 6, a Russian policeman attacked an accredited US diplomat entering the US embassy compound, after the American official identified himself.
Moscow, however, disputes that version of events and insists the US diplomat was a CIA agent who attacked the policeman as he tried to stop him to check his ID as he returned from a spying mission in the city.