US expels Russia’s second-in-command diplomat at Washington embassy

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The United States expelled the second highest ranking diplomat from the Russian Embassy in Washington, DC, in retaliation for having already done the same to the second American diplomat in Moscow, the Associated press reported Thursday.

The State Department notified the Russian Embassy on Wednesday of the expulsion of Minister Counselor Sergey Trepelkov, who worked under Ambassador Anatoly Antonov.

Earlier this month, Russia expelled US Deputy Chief of Mission to Russia Bart Gorman, while a senior State Department official told the newspaper the move was “a direct response to the Russian expulsion unprovoked by our deputy head of mission”.

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At the time, a spokesperson for the department told reporters that “Russia’s action against our DCM was unprovoked, and we consider this an escalation and are considering our response. “, adding that “DCM Gorman’s tour was not over; he had a valid visa, and he had been in Russia for less than three years.

The expulsion comes hours after Russia invaded Ukraine, which a senior defense official described as the biggest conventional warfare move since World War II.

“We haven’t seen a conventional movement like this, from nation-state to nation-state, since World War II, certainly nothing of this size, scope and scale,” the official said. , also adding that there is a belief that Russia is “making a move on Kiev.”

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The official also said that the Russian forces are mainly operating on three “assault axes”, describing one coming from Belarus towards Kiev, another from Belgorod, Russia, directed towards Kharkiv, and the third coming from Crimea. heading north.

President Joe Biden on Thursday announced additional sanctions targeting Russian elites and various Russian institutions.

The president vowed that the United States, its allies and partners would respond in a united and decisive manner, saying adamantly that “Russia bears sole responsibility for the death and destruction” caused by the offensive.

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