Moscow: The deputy chief of mission at the US Embassy in Moscow, Bart Gorman, has been expelled from Russia in retaliation, according to the Foreign Ministry.
Gorman was asked to leave in response to the "unjustified" expulsion of the Russian Embassy's minister-counsellor in Washington, according to a statement issued by Ministry spokesman Maria Zakharova on Thursday, following media reports earlier in the day.
The US Department of State "defiantly" refused to grant Moscow's request to extend the Russian diplomat's stay until his successor arrived.
The forced departure of the minister-counsellor without a successor worsened the Russian diplomatic mission's already acute manpower shortfall in the midst of an American-led "visa war," according to Zakharova.
She recalled that the United States had requested the withdrawal of 55 Russian diplomats, as well as administrative and technical personnel, in two stages, by January 30 and June 30 of this year. "The normalisation of bilateral relations is a one-way track in the eyes of the US administration, where only American interests are protected and everything else is neglected," Zakharova added.