The measures taken by Russia to expel American diplomats are forced. This was stated by the official representative of the Kremlin Dmitry Peskov.
“In order for us to stop expelling American diplomats, the United States must stop its efforts to expel our diplomats. Our actions are not the root cause of the crisis, they are forced and reciprocal,” Peskov commented on the call not to expel US diplomats from Russia.
The day before, the US State Department confirmed that Russia had received a list of undesirable American diplomats in the country. At the same time, the American department stated the importance of retaining the personnel of the embassies of the Russian Federation and the United States “now more than ever” in order to “have the necessary diplomatic personnel in our countries to facilitate communication between our governments.”
On March 23, the Russian Foreign Ministry handed over to the US embassy a note with a list of US diplomats declared persona non grata in response to the expulsion of Russian employees of the Permanent Mission to the UN.
On the eve of March 22, US Ambassador to Russia John Sullivan said that the United States did not intend to close the embassy in Moscow. According to him, he personally knows from conversations with President Joe Biden and Secretary of State Anthony Blinken “how important it is to have diplomatic representation in Russia.”
Prior to this, on March 21, Sullivan was handed a note of protest in connection with the statements of American leader Joe Biden against Russian President Vladimir Putin. Such statements by Biden put Russian-American relations on the brink of a break, the Russian Foreign Ministry noted. The department warned the American side that “hostile actions taken against Russia will receive a decisive and firm rebuff.”
On the same day, State Department spokesman Ned Price announced the US desire to maintain a mutual diplomatic presence with Russia and keep lines of communication open.