Russia orders some U.S. diplomats to leave country

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  • Anatoly Antonov
    Russian diplomat and statesman, Russian Ambassador to the United States (since 2017)

Russia on Wednesday ordered members of the U.S. Embassy staff that have been in the country for at least three years to leave by Jan. 31, according to Reuters.

Why it matters: It's a continuation of the diplomatic breakdown between the U.S. and Russia amid heightened tensions over Russia's military buildup in eastern Ukraine.

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  • Anatoly Antonov, Russia’s ambassador to the U.S., claimed the order was in response to the U.S. expelling more than 50 Russian diplomats by June 30 at the latest, according to the Wall Street Journal.

What they're saying: “I would like to emphasize that the choice is not ours,” Russian foreign ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova said during a briefing, according to the WSJ.

  • “Our American partners have forced us to play that way. We have long and persistently tried to reason with them and still direct them to some kind of constructive solution to the issue, but they made their choice," she added.

The big picture: This year, Russia and the U.S. have had multiple rounds of tit-for-tat expulsions and diplomatic sanctions.

Go deeper: Report: Putin eyes possible Ukraine invasion

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