US declares 35 Russian official persona non grata

“The State Department today declared persona non grata 35 Russian officials operating in the United States who were acting in a manner inconsistent with their diplomatic or consular status,” United States of America State Department Deputy Spokesperson Mark C. Toner said in a press statement dated December 29.

He added that the State Department 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. These are Russian government compounds are in Maryland and New York.

These are a comprehensive response to Russia’s interference in the US election and to a pattern of harassment of our diplomats overseas that has increased over the last four years, including a significant increase in the last 12 months, the Toner explained.

“This harassment has involved arbitrary police stops, physical assault, and the broadcast on State TV of personal details about our personnel that put them at risk. In addition, the Russian Government has impeded our diplomatic operations by, among other actions: forcing the closure of 28 American corners which hosted cultural programs and English-language teaching; blocking our efforts to begin the construction of a new, safer facility for our Consulate General in St. Petersburg; and rejecting requests to improve perimeter security at the current, outdated facility in St. Petersburg,” he added.

“Today’s actions send a clear message that such behavior is unacceptable and will have consequences,” Toner noted.