Russia explains why the second man in the US embassy was expelled

The Russian Foreign Ministry issued a statement explaining the reason for the expulsion of the deputy head of the US mission, Bart Gorman, in response to what it described as media reports depicting the move as a “deliberate escalation by the Russian side.”

“The US diplomat has already received orders to leave Russia, but only in response to the unjustified expulsion of a senior official at our embassy in Washington, despite his status as a senior official (at the embassy),” the ministry said.

The ministry did not name the Russian diplomat who was expelled from Washington, and did not say when he was forced to leave.

For her part, a US State Department spokeswoman said: “Russia’s action against our deputy chief of mission is unjustified, and we consider it an escalatory step, and we are discussing how to respond.”

US officials have warned that the risk of a Russian invasion remains high and that Russia may try to create a pretext to start the war, although Moscow has said it is moving some of its forces away from the border.

According to a biography posted on the embassy’s website, Gorman, the second-ranking US official at the embassy in Moscow, previously served as deputy assistant secretary of state and assistant director of threat investigations and analysis, a position tasked with overseeing efforts to monitor threats against US diplomats.

The biography says that he also served as a regional security officer in the US Diplomatic Security Service, the law enforcement and security arm of the department, in countries including Iraq, Jordan and China.

In addition to the tension over the Ukraine crisis, there is a dispute between the United States and Russia over mutual diplomatic representation in the two countries’ capitals.

Moscow said last December that US embassy employees who have held positions at the embassy for more than 3 years should return to their country.

A State Department spokeswoman said Gorman has a valid visa and has been in Russia for less than three years.

“We call on Russia to abandon baseless expulsions of American diplomats and staff and work productively to rebuild the two missions,” she added.

“It is now more important than ever that our two countries have diplomatic personnel in a position to facilitate communication between the two governments,” she added.

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