Russia has declared 35 American diplomats persona non grata, in a response to President Barack Obama’s expulsion of Russian diplomats for ‘malicious’ meddling in US election via cyber hacking.
The TASS news agency said the American diplomats expelled include 31 personnel of the embassy in Moscow and four of the consulate general in St. Petersburg.
Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, made the declaration on Friday, TASS reported.
“We, of course, cannot leave unanswered the insults of the kind, reciprocity is the law of diplomacy and foreign relations,” Lavrov said.
“Thus, the Russian Foreign Ministry and officials of other authorities have presented to the Russian president suggestions regarding announcing persona non grata 31 personnel of the US Embassy in Moscow and four diplomats from the Consulate General in St. Petersburg.”
Washington’s accusations that the Russian state was behind attempts to meddle in the US presidential election are groundless, Lavrov said.
“The outgoing US administration of Barack Obama accusing Russia of all mortal sins, trying to blame us for the failure of its foreign policy initiatives.
“Among other things, has put forward additional accusations without any grounds whatsoever that the Russian state was behind attempts to meddle in the US election campaign, which led to the defeat of the democratic candidate,” Lavrov said.