Does US offers Russia diplomatic truce?
Russia is free to send personnel to replace 60 diplomats declared persona non grata by the United States in late March, a US Department of State spokesperson said.
"As with similar incidents in the past, the Russian government remains free to request accreditation for vacant positions in its bilateral mission. Any requests for new diplomatic accreditation will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis," TASS cited the source as saying.
"The Russian Federation has not informed us that it intends to reduce the total number of personnel allowed in our bilateral Mission," the spokesperson added.
According to the official, the United States assumes that Moscow is ready to accept new US diplomatic personnel to fill the positions of diplomats who have been expelled from Russia.
On March 26, in the wake of the Skripal incident in Salisbury, a number of EU member countries, the United States, Canada and Australia announced the expulsion of Russian diplomats. In particular, Washington expelled 60 diplomatic workers and closed the Russian consulate in Seattle.
Last week, the Russian Foreign Ministry announced retaliatory measures against counties that had expelled Russian diplomats. In particular, Moscow expelled 60 US diplomats and closed the US consulate general in St. Petersburg.
The director of the Roosevelt Fund of Study of the US at Moscow State University, Doctor of Historical Sciences, Yuri Rogulev, speaking with a correspondent of Vestnik Kavkaza, noted that thus the US has shown that they understand the impasse of constant reduce in the number of diplomats. "So far, of course, it is too early to consider this statement as a step towards reconciliation, but at least this is an answer to the question of what will happen after the expulsion of diplomats. Before, Russia had been in the situation when no formal restrictions were officially announced to replace the US diplomats, but de facto, the number of Russian diplomats was decreasing. This statement of the State Department is caused by the fact that the deportation of diplomats, with subsequent permanent reductions, is a way to nowhere, halting the work of diplomatic missions, which simply cannot perform their functions," he said.
At the same time, there is no certainty that the United States will be followed by other countries that sent Russian diplomats over the Skripal case. "In most cases, we are talking about a very small number of expelled diplomats, with the number of 1-4 diplomats declared persona non grata, the issue of reducing diplomatic representation in these countries does not even arise. As for the UK, there is a very difficult situation there, especially since we had a disproportion in terms of the number of diplomats. To the moment, the UK has had more diplomats in Russia than Russia has in England, and it is difficult to predict if London make the same statement as Washington dis," the director of the Roosevelt Fund of Study of the US at Moscow State University, Doctor of Historical Sciences drew attention.
Director of the Institute of Strategic Planning and Forecasting, Professor Alexander Gusev, said that both sides were ready ready for such a development. "Even when the US State Department announced the expulsion of 60 our diplomats, it was said that the procedure would be carried out on a rotational basis, and our answer would also be on a rotational basis. It was a complete symmetry: they closed the consulate in Seattle, we closed the consulate in St. Petersburg, but the same number of diplomats will return to represent their countries' interests. Unfortunately, this does not mean any warming of relations, because the expulsion of diplomats is quite a serious step dictated by the attitude towards Russia as a whole," he warned.
The rotation of expelled diplomats in European countries is also quite possible. "The Europeans took measures, sent one or two diplomatic employees, reported to the White House that they had executed Trump's order, but that's all. Everyone understands that these were formal steps, because everyone also knows that the Skripal case was fabricated. It was done to spoil the election campaign, but it was a mistake of the West, because Vladimir Putin's results were higher than ever. Since the main task of the Skrypal case failed, one should expect that it will eventually come to naught," Alexander Gusev concluded.