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U.S. Allows Russia to Bring Plane to Retrieve Diplomats

The Russian Embassy in Washington. Aaron Siirila (CC BY-SA 2.5)

The United States said Tuesday it let Moscow send an airplane to Washington to pick up diplomats despite a ban on commercial flights and called for reciprocal treatment.

"The U.S. government allowed the Russian government to send a charter flight to the United States to transport to Russia those Russian diplomats whose assignments have ended," State Department spokesman Matthew Miller told reporters.

Miller said he had no details on the number of diplomats involved and said that the United States wanted "strict reciprocity" from Russia.

"In exchange for granting these courtesies, we expect Russia to maintain open transport for our diplomats and cargo to our embassy in Moscow," he said.

The United States banned all Russian aircraft from its airspace, and U.S. carriers do not fly over Russia, as part of measures taken to pressure Moscow over its February 2022 invasion of Ukraine.

The United States has had only limited high-level diplomatic contact with Russia during the war, in part to arrange the release of detained Americans.

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