Russia announced its decision to expel two U.S. diplomats. Allegedly, these diplomats had engaged with a Russian contractor linked to the American Embassy in Moscow. This contractor is currently facing charges for gathering intelligence on the conflict in Ukraine.
The Russian Foreign Ministry issued a statement on Thursday, revealing that U.S. Ambassador Lynne Tracy was summoned for a discussion. During this meeting, they formally declared Jeffrey Sillin and David Bernstein as “personae non gratae”. The two diplomats have been given a week to leave the country.
The ministry accused them of engaging in “illegal activities” by maintaining contact with Russian citizen Robert Shonov. Shonov stands accused of gathering intelligence on the Ukrainian conflict, Russia’s mobilization efforts, and public sentiments surrounding the matter. He was apprehended in March and faces charges under a statute aimed at penalizing Russians assisting foreign states in undermining Russia’s interests.
As of now, the U.S. has not issued an immediate response to this expulsion. Previously, it has refuted the allegations against Shonov, asserting that they are baseless.