Russia accuses three US embassy staff of theft and wants to waive their immunity

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MOSCOW, Oct 8 (Reuters) – Russia has asked the U.S. Embassy in Moscow to waive the diplomatic immunity of three of its staff suspected of stealing items from a Russian citizen, the U.S. Embassy reported on Friday. Interfax news agency quoting the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

If the United States refused to waive their diplomatic immunity, the three employees would have to leave Russia immediately, the Foreign Ministry said.

Earlier this week, the Russian Foreign Ministry said a proposal by the US Congress to expel 300 Russian diplomats from the United States would lead to the closure of US diplomatic facilities in Russia, if implemented. Read more

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Democratic and Republican US senators on Tuesday urged President Joe Biden to expel Russian diplomats if Moscow does not issue more visas to Americans to represent Washington in Russia. Read more

Interfax, citing a Russian law enforcement source, reported earlier on Friday that three US citizens from the Moscow embassy under the influence of alcohol stole a backpack from a Russian national on September 18.

Moscow police identified the three men as US Marine Corps servicemen between the ages of 21 and 26, Interfax reported, citing police spokesman Vladimir Vasenin.

The U.S. Embassy did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.

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Reporting by Andrey Ostroukh Editing by Andrew Osborn and Howard Goller

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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