| 17 September 2021, Friday |

Russia says U.S. asked 24 of its diplomats to leave by Sept. 3

After their visas expired on September 3, Washington had requested 24 Russian diplomats to leave the country, according to Russia’s ambassador to the US.

Anatoly Antonov did not disclose whether the US request was sparked by a specific dispute, and Washington did not respond immediately.

“Almost all of them will go without replacements since Washington has suddenly tightened visa issuance procedures,” Antonov stated in an interview published on Sunday in the National Interest magazine.

Moscow and Washington have long differed over a range of issues, and ties slumped further after U.S. President Joe Biden said he believed Russian President Vladimir Putin was a killer.

Tensions somewhat eased after Biden met Putin for talks on June 16, which even led to the return of some foreign investors’ money into Russian government bonds.

“We hope that common sense will prevail and we will be able to normalize the life of Russian and American diplomats in the United States and Russia on the principle of reciprocity,” Antonov said.

Antonov also said he hoped that the recently started dialogue between the United States and Russia on cybersecurity issues will continue.

“As an option, we can debate on cyber threats to arms control systems, etc.”