Russia has said it is expelling two United States diplomats for allegedly “liaising” with a Russian national it accuses of collaborating with a foreign state.
On Thursday, Russian authorities said two US embassy staff would be expelled for working with Robert Shonov, a former US consulate worker accused by Moscow of spying.
The Russian foreign ministry said in a statement that it had summoned US envoy Lynne Tracy and told her that embassy first secretary Jeffrey Sillin and second secretary David Bernstein must leave Russia within seven days.
“The named people conducted illegal activity, maintaining contact with Russian citizen R Shonov, accused of ‘confidential cooperation’ with a foreign state,” the ministry said.
“The US ambassador was told that Sillin and Bernstein must leave the territory of Russia within seven days under the status of persona non grata,” it said.
Robert Shonov, a Russian national who worked for the US consulate in the eastern Russian city of Vladivostok, was charged with allegedly passing information about the conflict in Ukraine to American diplomats, a claim the US has rejected.