Ex­pelled Rus­sians ar­rive home as Moscow warns against travel to UK


mis­sion to the UN, as well as clos­ing Rus­sia’s con­sulate in Seat­tle.

How­ever, Wash­ing­ton has since said that Rus­sia is free to ap­ply to ac­credit more diplo­mats to re­place those ex­pelled.

Moscow re­sponded by ex­pelling 60 US diplo­mats and clos­ing Wash­ing­ton’s con­sulate in Saint Peters­burg on Satur­day.

US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump has of­ten ap­peared re­luc­tant to crit­i­cize Rus­sian leader Vladimir Putin and has said the two could meet for a sum­mit in the near fu­ture.

“Now the con­sulate is closed but our work to im­prove Rus­sian-US ties is con­tin­u­ing,” the US Em­bassy in Moscow said on Twit­ter.

Moscow also is­sued fur­ther re­tal­ia­tory mea­sures against Bri­tain on Satur­day, de­mand­ing that Lon­don fur­ther slash its diplo­matic pres­ence.

“Rus­sia sug­gested par­ity. The Bri­tish side has more than 50 more peo­ple,” For­eign Min­istry spokes­woman Maria Zakharova told AFP.

The call came af­ter 23 Bri­tish diplo­mats were ex­pelled from Rus­sia last month.

Moscow also closed a Bri­tish con­sulate in Saint Peters­burg and sus­pended all projects of the Bri­tish Coun­cil for the first time in nearly 60 years.

The Rus­sian Em­bassy in Lon­don urged Rus­sians to think care­fully be­fore trav­el­ing to the UK or send­ing chil­dren to sum­mer school there.

The em­bassy warned that Bri­tish au­thor­i­ties in­clud­ing po­lice could sin­gle out Rus­sians for ad­di­tional checks, cit­ing “the anti-Rus­sian poli­cies and an es­ca­la­tion of the Bri­tish side’s threat­en­ing rhetoric.”

Bri­tain ac­knowl­edged Satur­day that bor­der of­fi­cials had searched an in­com­ing Aeroflot flight from Moscow in what Rus­sia blasted as an act of “bla­tant provo­ca­tion.”

Bri­tain said it con­ducts rou­tine checks on air­craft to pro­tect the UK from or­ga­nized crime and peo­ple at­tempt­ing to bring harm­ful sub­stances into the coun­try.

Ear­lier this week, Moscow sum­moned Bri­tish Am­bas­sador Lau­rie Bris­tow, giv­ing Lon­don a month to cut the num­ber of diplo­matic staff in Rus­sia to the same num­ber Rus­sia has in Bri­tain.

A boy looks through win­dow of a bus al­leged to be car­ry­ing Rus­sian diplo­mats and their fam­ily mem­bers who were or­dered to leave the US, as they de­part from Vnukovo 2 gov­ern­ment air­port, out­side Moscow Sun­day. (AP)

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