Washington – Reuters
US senators on Tuesday called on President Joe Biden to expel 300 Russian diplomats if Moscow no longer grants visas to Americans to represent Washington in Russia.
The latest proposal would sharply escalate an ongoing dispute over embassy staff amid tensions between Washington and Moscow, and was presented by Senate Foreign Relations and Intelligence Committee leaders, Democrats Bob Menendez and Mark Warner, and Republicans Jim. Risch and Marco Rubio.
The US State Department said that in August Russia prevented its embassy in Moscow from retaining, employing or contracting Russian or third-country workers for purposes other than surveillance, forcing the mission to have 182 employees and dozens of contractors. to abandon. This means there are only about 100 US diplomats in Russia, the senators said, compared to the 400 Russian diplomats in America.
“This disparity in the size of diplomatic representation is unacceptable,” the senators wrote in a letter to Biden. Accordingly, Russia should issue enough visas to equate the number of US diplomats working in Russia with the number of Russian diplomats working in the United States.” They said if Moscow didn’t, Biden would have to expel about 300 Russian diplomats.