- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 17, 2022

Russia has order the second-in-command at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow to leave the country as tensions mount over the Ukraine crisis, according to the English-language Moscow Times newspaper. 

Bart Gorman, the deputy chief of mission at the embassy, was ordered out of Russia, according to the state-run RIA Novosti news agency. Mr. Gorman is a career diplomat and was responsible for “managing key aspects of the U.S.-Russia relationship,” embassy officials said.

His expulsion comes as Russia continues to deploy over 100,000 heavily armed troops along its border with Ukraine.

The U.S. has sent thousands of troops to the region to bolster nervous NATO allies like Poland and Romania. U.S. officials said they fear a Russian invasion could happen “within days.”

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said in a statement Thursday afternoon that the expulsion was ordered in retaliation for the recent order demanding an unnamed Russian diplomat leave Washington and was not an escalation in the ongoing clash over Ukraine. The U.S. expulsion, she said, had left Russia‘s Washington embassy severely undermanned.

“This was done strictly in retaliation for the groundless expulsion of a minister-counselor of our embassy in Washington, contrary to his senior diplomatic rank,” Ms. Zakharova said in a statement on the ministry’s website. “Moreover, the [State Department] defiantly ignored our request for prolonging his stay at least until a substitute arrived.”

• Mike Glenn can be reached at mglenn@washingtontimes.com.

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