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Russia Expels US #2 Top Diplomat From Country, US Vows Retaliation

Courtesy of ZeroHedge View original post here.

Previously on Tuesday with the Russian announcement that it had begun drawing down troops from near the border with Ukraine, the prospect for a diplomatic way out of the crisis looked promising. But as has been the case for the past weeks, the whole ordeal has involved a flood of mixed signals and contradictory headlines, alternating from promises of "dialogue" and de-escalation to quickly being back on a war-footing coupled with threats - a narrative which seems to turn on a dime every hour. 

And now on Thursday more escalation as prospects for diplomacy and open dialogue grow dimmer: "Russia has expelled US deputy chief of diplomatic mission Bart Gorman from the country, the US Embassy has said," Russian state sources are reporting

The US has vowed that it will respond in kind, and further that the top official still had time remaining on his visa. The embassy further called his being declared 'persona non grata' and expelled from the country "unreasonable" and a significant escalation. 

"Gorman was the second most important official at the US Embassy in Moscow after the ambassador and a key member of the senior leadership of the embassy," a spokesman for the US diplomatic mission was cited in regional media as saying. Gorman is responsible for "key aspects of US-Russian relations," according to embassy information on its website. 

At the start of this year the United States expelled dozens of Russian diplomats from Washington. While the move was technical, according to the State Dept. (which cited visa expiration and non-renewals), Moscow charged that the move was part of the ongoing political tit-for-tat. 

Meanwhile, Russia has reemphasized on Thursday that there "is no invasion of Ukraine" and that it's not planning any offensive, according to Interfax.

This also has the US confirmed it has received Russia's latest response concerning ongoing negotiations of its security proposals. 


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