Russia expels deputy US ambassador
Russia has expelled a top diplomat serving in the US Embassy in Moscow, both RIA Novosti and TASS reported on Thursday, citing the American mission.
Bart Gorman, who has been serving as deputy ambassador, was asked to leave the country, they claimed. The embassy told the news agencies that Washington is considering a tit-for-tat response.
Gorman is a career US diplomat specialising in security, according to his bio. He previously served as the deputy assistant secretary and assistant director for Threat Investigations and Analysis (TIA) in the department’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security.
He was also posted as a security officer at a number of US diplomatic missions around the world, including in Russia, Iraq, Jordan, China, Kazakhstan, and Armenia.
In its comment to the Russian media, the embassy said that a diplomat with a rank corresponding to Gorman’s left the US in late January “after his term expired.”
Moscow has yet to comment on the expulsion at the time of writing.
Later on Thursday, the US State Department described Gorman’s expulsion as “unprovoked” and “an escalatory step.” A spokesperson said that Washington is “considering our response.”
The expulsion comes as US officials continue to warn of an impending US invasion of Ukraine. Although no Russian offensive took place on Tuesday or Wednesday, when American officials said it would, President Joe Biden told reporters on Thursday that “every indication that we have is that they are prepared to go into Ukraine, attack Ukraine,” adding that such an attack “will happen within the next several days.”
Moscow has accused the US of provoking “hysteria” with such statements, and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has repeatedly asked the Biden administration to provide evidence for its claims of impending invasion.
Nevertheless, tension in the region is high, and Thursday saw reports of fire and shelling between Ukrainian government forces and fighters from the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) in the east of the country. Violence was also reported in the Lugansk People’s Republic, the other breakaway territory in the Donbass region.