Russian diplomats who were expelled by order of U.S. President Barack Obama have left Washington and are heading to Moscow, Russian news agencies reported, citing Russia's embassy.
"The plane has taken off," a spokesman for Russia's embassy in the United States, Nikolai Lakhonin, was quoted as saying on January 1.
He added that all the expelled diplomats who were due to leave on January 1 were on board the flight.
Obama last week ordered the expulsion of 35 Russian suspected spies and imposed sanctions on two Russian intelligence agencies over allegations of hacking aimed to interfere in the U.S. election, espionage, and harassment of U.S. diplomats in Russia.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said on December 30 that Moscow would not expel any Americans from the country.
Putin said he would consider the actions of President-elect Donald Trump, who takes office on January 20, when deciding on further steps in the relations between the two countries.
Based on reporting by Reuters and TASS