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Russia: USAID Expulsion Should Not Be Surprise

Russia has said that the expulsion of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) should not come as a surprise to the United States.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Aleksandr Lukashevich said Moscow regretted the decision had caused a scandal.

But he said Washington was informed well in advance of the move.

"In principle," he said, "everyone understood and knew about this problem."

USAID has been asked to halt operations in Russia by October 1.

U.S. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland on September 19 called Moscow's decision "regrettable."

The Russian Foreign Ministry has accused USAID of seeking to influence Russian elections through its grants.

Washington rejects the allegation.

Based on reporting by AFP, Interfax, and ITAR-TASS