US Democratic and Republican senators on Tuesday urged President Joe Biden to expel 300 Russian diplomats from the United States if Moscow does not issue more visas for Americans to represent Washington in Russia.
The suggestions from the leaders of the Senate foreign relations and intelligence committees – Democrats Bob Menendez and Mark Warner and Republicans Jim Risk and Marco Rubio – would mark a sharp escalation in the ongoing dispute over embassy staff amid tensions between Washington and Moscow.
The State Department said Russia banned the US embassy in Moscow in August from retaining, hiring or contracting Russian or third-country employees, forcing the mission to lay off 182 employees and dozens of contractors.
That means there are only about 100 US diplomats in Russia, compared to 400 Russian diplomats across the United States, the senators said.
“This disparity in diplomatic representation is unacceptable. Accordingly, Russia should issue enough visas to reach parity between the number of American diplomats serving in Russia and the number of Russian diplomats serving in the United States,” the senators wrote in a letter to Biden. written in
If Moscow doesn’t, he said Biden should start expelling more than 300 Russian diplomats.
The White House and State Department did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
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