The US expelled the No. 2 diplomat at the Russian embassy in Washington, DC, in response to Russia expelling the second-ranking US diplomat in Moscow earlier this year, a State Department official confirms.
The Russians were alerted of this yesterday, and the diplomat was given a few weeks to leave the US, the official said.
The US took this action as a direct response to what the Russians had done — nothing related to the Ukraine crisis. This instance follows years of diplomatic tit-for-tats exchanged between the two countries.
The No. 2 person at the Russian embassy who will be leaving is the minister counselor.