Expelled Russian Diplomats Leave US

Expelled Russian Diplomats Leave USExpelled Russian Diplomats Leave US

A plane carrying 35 Russian diplomats expelled from the United States over Moscow’s alleged interference in the presidential election took off from Washington on Sunday, Russian news agencies reported. “The plane has taken off, everyone is on board,” said the Russian Embassy in Washington, quoted by the state-owned RIA Novosti agency. Relatives of the diplomats are also on board the plane flown specially from Russia to pick up a total of 96 passengers, RTE, Ireland National Television and Radio Broadcaster reported. The expulsions were part of a package of sanctions ordered by US President Barack Obama on Thursday in the final weeks of his administration. “We can confirm that the 35 Russian diplomats declared persona non grata have, along with their family members, departed the United States,” a State Department spokesman said. The diplomats, described as intelligence operatives based at the Russian Embassy in Washington and the consulate in San Francisco, had been given 72 hours on Thursday to leave the country. Economic sanctions were also announced against Russia’s FSB and GRU intelligence agencies. Four GRU officers, including agency chief Igor Korobov, also face sanctions. Moscow has denied the allegations and refused to expel US diplomats in retaliation, as it awaits the response of the US president-elect, Donald Trump, who takes over on Jan. 20.


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