The US State Department says a Russian policeman attacked an accredited US diplomat entering the US embassy compound on 6 June. Photograph: Handout. Staff and agencies. Saturday 9 July 2016 11.02 EDT Last modified on Saturday 9 July 2016 12.45 ...
Staff and agencies
Saturday 9 July 2016 16.02Â BST
Last modified on Saturday 9 July 2016 17.45Â BST
Russia has expelled two US diplomats, including one who was the subject of an unprovoked attack by a Russian policeman outside the embassy in Moscow last month.
Sergei Ryabkov, the Russian deputy foreign minister, accused the US diplomats of being CIA agents and declared them â€œpersona non grata for activities incompatible with their diplomatic statusâ€.
The expulsions come in retaliation to a US decision to order two Russian diplomats to leave Washington DC following the attack. The pair were expelled on 17 June but the move was only announced on Friday.
State Department spokesman John Kirby said that on 6 June, a Russian policeman attacked an accredited US diplomat entering the US embassy compound after the American official identified himself.
Moscow, however, claimed that the US diplomat was a CIA agent who attacked the policeman as he tried to stop him to check his identification as he returned from a spying mission.
Russian state-controlled television has broadcast what appeared to be grainy footage of the attack, that appears to contradict the Russian report.
A man can be seen leaving a taxi and is almost immediately attacked by a policeman, who bursts from a sentry box and wrestles him to the ground. With the officer pinning him down, the man managed to push himself through a door into the embassy.
The expulsions had been kept secret until the footage was aired on Russian TV, with Ryabkov accusing US diplomats in Washington of failing to keep their word after asking Moscow not to publicise the moves.
The latest incidents come after complaints from Washington about a mounting campaign of harassment and intimidation of American diplomats and their families in Moscow.
Relations between Russia and the US have chilled following Moscowâ€™s annexation of the Crimean peninsula from Ukraine in 2014, after which the west imposed sanctions against Russia.
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