Russia to retaliate against diplomat expulsion from US
Reducing Russian diplomatic presence in the US is another "unfriendly" step, according to Antonov.
After the expulsion of Russian Consul Ambassador to the US, Sergei Trepelkov - who is the second most important diplomat in the country - Russia will have a response, according to the Russian ambassador to the US Anatoly Antonov.
On Thursday, the US took the decision to expel Trepelkov in response to Russia's expulsion of the US Deputy Chief of Mission, Bart Gorman.
Kremlin's spokesperson, Dmitry Peskov, spoke about the expulsion of Gorman from Russia that is the retaliatory measure of Moscow, saying that "This is a response to provocation." Last week, Moscow ordered Gorman to leave Russia in response to Washington's decision to expel the Russian embassy's minister-counselor.
"We regard the new expulsion as another unfriendly step aimed at reducing the Russian diplomatic presence in the United States. Our retaliatory measures are predictable", Antonov said in a statement published by the Russian Embassy.
"We have made a lot of efforts to stop the escalation imposed by the Americans. We urged the State Department to reconsider its position in order to avoid an exchange of blows. However, we faced a categorical refusal, accompanied by a threat to arrest our diplomat if he stayed even for one more day in Washington", the ambassador added.
Thursday morning, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced the launching of a special military operation against Ukrainian military targets, particularly in Donbass.
One of the objectives of the operation was to neutralize Ukraine's military potential, which has substantially increased due to the overwhelming support of NATO countries. The decision came after the newly-recognized republics in Donbass asked for assistance in countering the aggression of Ukrainian forces.