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US declares 35 Russian diplomats persona non grata

Washington expelled 35 Russian diplomats from Washington and San Francisco, the US Department of State said in an official statement Thursday.

Washington also informed the Russian government that it would deny Russian personnel access to two recreational compounds in the United States owned by the Russian Government.

An anonymous US official told Reuters the diplomats were given 72 hours to leave.

Russia will respond to the U.S. move, Vladimir Dzhabarov, the deputy chairman of the foreign policy committee in the upper house of Russian parliament told TASS.

"You realize, of course, reciprocal steps will be made and the U.S. embassy in Moscow and, quite possibly, the consulates will be cut down to size as well," he said.

The Russian embassy in the US was not immediately available for a comment.

[Source: Itar Tass, Washington, 29Dec16]

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