First published: December 30, 2016, 4:14 PM IST | Updated: 40 mins ago
File image of Russian President Vladimir Putin (L) with his US counterpart Barack Obama. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)
Moscow: Russia’s foreign ministry has requested President Vladimir Putin turf out 35 American diplomats from the country in a tit-for-tat response to a similar move by Washington, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Friday.
“Russia’s foreign ministry… has requested that the Russian president approve declaring as personae non gratae 31 employees of the US embassy in Moscow and four diplomats from the US consulate in Saint Petersburg,” Lavrov said in televised comments.
Earlier, President Barack Obama had imposed sanctions on Russian officials and intelligence services in retaliation for Russia’s interference in the US presidential election by hacking American political sites and email accounts.
The State Department also has kicked out 35 Russian diplomats from its embassy in Washington and consulate in San Francisco, giving them and their families 72 hours to leave the US. The diplomats were declared persona non grata for acting in a “manner inconsistent with their diplomatic status.”