According to the State Department on Thursday, Russia expelled a senior U.S. diplomat last week amid the latest sign of tensions rising between Washington and Moscow as the Biden administration issued warnings of a possible Russian invasion of Ukraine.
A State Department spokesman has confirmed the news of the expelling of Deputy Chief of Mission Bart Gorman, the No.2 diplomat at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow, and described it as ‘unprovoked.”
The spokesman added that Gorman got expulsion from his position last week. Russian state media was the first to release information about Gorman.
Russia did not provide a reason for the decision to expel Gorman. The State Department said he had a valid visa and had not ended his tour.
The spokesman of the State Department said, “We consider this as an escalatory step and are considering our response.”
The spokesman added, “We call on Russia to end its baseless expulsions of U.S. diplomats and staff and to work productively to rebuild our missions. Now more than ever, it is important that our nations have the necessary diplomatic personnel in place to facilitate communication between our governments.”
Earlier, Russia has claimed that it would order U.S. Embassy staff who have been in Moscow for more than three years to evacuate by January 31. The Kremlin expelled Michelle Michalenko, Gorman’s private chef, in January. The State Department said that Gorman had been in Moscow less than three years.
While addressing the media before leaving the White House for a trip to Ohio, President Biden has released a warning that the threat of a Russian invasion of Ukraine is very high and said he believed it would happen within the next few days.
At the same time, NATO has also blamed Russia for continuing its military buildup. Russia on Thursday has claimed that U.S. and NATO were making “unfounded accusations.”