Georgian tabloid Asaval-Dasavali released in its April 2-8, 2018 edition an interview with Jondi Bagaturia, leader of the Georgian Troupe party, in which he speaks about the issue of expulsion of diplomats from the United States and Russia. Bagaturia claims that the United States “has softened its positions” as it plans to replace expelled Russian diplomats by new ones, while Russia will not accept new American diplomats.
Jondi Bagaturia’s statement is manipulative; it aims at discrediting the U.S. for its stance against Russia in response to a nerve-agent attack in Salisbury that targeted a Russian ex-spy, Sergei Skripal, and portraying Russia as a stronger and principled state. According to diplomatic practice, both the United States and Russia can replace the expelled diplomats, but if Russia refuses to accept U.S. diplomats, neither will the United States accept new Russian diplomats.
Actually, the United States and Russia can replace diplomats in each other’s countries. In the interview with CNN, a State Department spokesperson said that the Russian Federation has not reduced the total number of personnel allowed in the bilateral mission and therefore, the United States may request new diplomatic personnel to fill the positions of diplomats who have been expelled.
"As always/As with similar incidents in the past, the Russian government remains free to request accreditation for vacant positions in its bilateral mission," the State Department spokesman told CNN in a statement Tuesday. "Any requests for new diplomatic accreditation will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis."
The United Kingdom, some other European countries, Canada and the United States have expelled 60 Russian diplomats in response to a nerve-agent attack that targeted Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia. Noteworthy that expulsion of diplomats is only part of the measures taken against Russia in response to the recent poisoning of the former double agent in the United Kingdom, allegedly at the hands of the Kremlin. Russia’s stock market crashed after the United States imposed sanctions on Russian government officials and oligarchs.
Prepared by Grigor Aivazishvili
Myth Detector Laboratory