A Russian-flagged plane landed this Saturday (03.05.2022) in the US capital to search for diplomats from Moscow’s mission to the UN expelled by Washington after accusing them of “espionage”, authorities reported.
The United States closed its airspace to Russian planes as part of the sanctions imposed against Moscow for the invasion of Ukraine.
However, an Ilyushin IL-96 landed in Washington, according to the Flightware site, which tracks all air traffic.
“The United States government gave the green light to this aircraft chartered by the Russian government to facilitate the departure of personnel from the Russian mission” to the United Nations, a State Department spokeswoman said.
This “exception” is intended to guarantee their departure and that of their families on the stipulated date, before March 7, he added.
The United States announced on Monday the expulsion of “twelve intelligence agents from the Russian mission who abused” their diplomatic status in the United States “by participating in espionage activities.”
The Russian ambassador to the United States, Anatoly Antonov, then denounced “hostility” against his country.
The Russian mission to the UN has a hundred officials, according to a diplomatic source from that country.