Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow Bart Gorman has been expelled from Russia, reports RIA Novosti.
"Gorman was the second most important official at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow after the ambassador and a key member of the embassy's senior management team," embassy spokesman Jason Rebholz told RIA Novosti. According to him, Washington considers the expulsion of the diplomat as an "escalation" and is considering the possibility of retaliatory measures.
"The American diplomat was indeed ordered to leave Russia, but strictly in response to the unjustified expulsion of the Minister Counsellor of our embassy in Washington, despite his status as a senior official. Moreover, the Department of State pointedly ignored our request to extend his stay at least until the arrival of a replacement. As a result, he was forced to leave without a replacement, which exacerbated the already critical personnel deficit in the Russian diplomatic mission, caused by the "visa war" unleashed by the Americans, " the official representative of the Russian Foreign, Ministry Maria Zakharova, said in a statement published on the website of the Russian Foreign Ministry.
Zakharova also noted that "the American side initiated another round of expulsions in September 2021, demanding the departure of 55 Russian diplomats and administrative and technical staff in two stages – by January 30 and by June 30. All attempts on our part to resolve the issue by "freezing" expulsions on a reciprocal basis have been rejected. Moreover, the Department of State also put the Minister Counsellor on this list, although they understood a mirror response would follow against B. Gorman. "
"Russia’s action against our DCM (deputy chief of mission) was unprovoked and we consider this an escalatory step and are considering our response, " RBC news agency quotes the representative of the US Embassy in Moscow as saying.
RBC notes, citing Gorman's page on the website of the American diplomatic mission, that he was "responsible for key aspects of US-Russian relations."
From 2017 to 2019, Gorman served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State and Deputy Assistant Secretary and Assistant Director for Threat Investigations and Analysis, and from 2014 to 2016 as Chief of Security for the U.S. Mission in Moscow. He has worked at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad and Amman.
On February 9, 2022, Russian Ambassador to the United States Anatoly Antonov said that he could be told by Washington to leave the U.S.
"I repeat this American position. Indeed, the situation, as it was when I first mentioned it, remains to this day, " RIA Novosti quoted Antonov as saying.
Antonov said earlier that the US Department of State said it is ready to consider the expulsion of the Russian ambassador if Moscow does not issue visas to the guards of the head of the American diplomatic mission in Moscow. "This means that the Americans do not rule out the possibility of choosing such a path, which involves lowering the level of diplomatic presence in Moscow and Washington," Antonov said.