he US has expelled 35 Russian diplomats and closed two Russian compounds in New York and Maryland in response to a campaign of harassment by Russia against American diplomats in Moscow, a senior US official said on Thursday. The official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Reuters the Russian diplomats would be given 72 hours to leave the United States. Access to the two compounds will be denied to all Russian officials as of noon on Friday, the official added. “These actions were taken to respond to Russian harassment of American diplomats and actions by the diplomats that we have assessed to be not consistent with diplomatic practice,” the official said. The spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday (local time) that a new round of US sanctions against Russia would harm relations between Moscow and Washington. Dmitry Peskov said Putin would order an “appropriate” retaliation to the sanctions, which included the expulsion of 35 diplomats. Russia’s UK embassy responded to news that Obama had expelled 35 of its diplomats from the US with a picture of a “lame duck”. The embassy tweeted a picture of a baby duck with the word “lame” superimposed on it. Included was a message that read: “President Obama expels 35 [Russian] diplomats in Cold War deja vu. “As everybody, incl people, will be glad to see the last of this hapless Adm.”
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Newsline: US expels 35 Russian diplomats, closes two compounds