Bart Gorman, the deputy chief of mission at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow, has been expelled from Russia, the Russian Foreign Ministry confirmed on Thursday.
Gorman was ordered to leave in response to the "unjustified" expulsion of the minister-counsellor of the Russian Embassy in Washington, the ministry's spokesperson Maria Zakharova said in a statement, following media reports earlier in the day.
The U.S. Department of State "defiantly" ignored Moscow's request to extend the Russian diplomat's stay at least until the arrival of his successor, she noted.
The minister-counsellor's forced departure without a replacement aggravated the already critical shortage of personnel in the Russian diplomatic mission amid a "visa war" initiated by the Americans, Zakharova stressed.
She recalled that the United States has demanded the departure of 55 Russian diplomats as well as administrative and technical employees in two stages -- by Jan. 30 and by June 30 this year.
"In the understanding of the U.S. administration, the normalization of bilateral relations is a one-way street, where only American interests are ensured and everything else is ignored," Zakharova said.