The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs declared two US embassy employees persona non grata. The diplomats were accused of espionage.
Therefore, Lynne M. Tracy, the US ambassador to Russia, was summoned to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. A statement regarding the expulsion of two American diplomats from Russia appeared on the website of the Russian ministry.
"The head of the American diplomatic mission in Moscow, L. Tracy, who was summoned to the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, received a demarche (an official statement from one country towards another, containing a proposal, protest, etc. - ed.), consisting in presenting an official note on the inconsistency with the diplomatic status of the actions of the First Secretary of the Embassy USA J. Sillin and the Second Secretary of the Embassy B. Bernstein," it was reported.
As explained, both members of the American diplomatic mission have been declared persona non grata and must leave the country within a week.
"These people conducted illegal activities, maintaining contact with Russian citizen R. Shonov, accused of 'secret cooperation' with a foreign state, which was entrusted with tasks in exchange for financial compensation aimed at harming the national security of the Russian Federation," the statement added.
The authorities in Washington also appealed to refrain from "confrontational steps". The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs stressed that such actions are considered unacceptable and escalate tension.
Earlier, the FSB announced the discontinuation of the activities of the informant of the US Embassy - a former employee of the US Consulate General in Vladivostok, Robert Shonov.
According to the intelligence services, from the fall of 2022, he performed the tasks of employees of the US Embassy in Moscow, Sillin and Bernstein, consisting of collecting information about the army and mobilization.
The detainee was charged with "collaboration with a foreign country", which carries a penalty of up to eight years in prison.