Banished Russian diplomats 'unable to buy plane tickets home as all flights sold out'

Banished Russian diplomats 'unable to buy plane tickets home as all flights sold out'

A Russian news agency reports that all flights are sold out

Friday, December 30, 2016

The Russian diplomats who have been thrown out of the United States have been unable to buy plane tickets home because all flights are sold out, according to a report by Russian news agency RIA Novosti.

The report, citing Kremlin sources, claims Vladimir Putin has been forced to send a special plane to collect the 35 diplomats who have been thrown out of America in retaliation for perceived Russian 'inference' in the recent US presidential election.

The US Government has given the diplomats 72 hours to leave, declaring them 'persona non grata', and also announced the closure of two Russian diplomatic compounds in the latest round of sanctions against Moscow.

However Vladimir Putin has declined to retaliate, despite early reports that he was planning a tit-for-tat response by ejecting 35 American diplomats from Russia. Putin has condemned Washington for its "provocactive'"sanctions but said all US diplomats can stay in Russia and can even visit the Kremlin for New Year's Eve.

Putin and his government continue to deny any involvement in the US election, which was won by Donald Trump - an admirer of the Russian leader.