Russian foreign minister suggests expelling 35 U.S. diplomats

Russia's foreign minister has proposed the expulsion of 35 U.S. diplomats from the country in response to sanctions announced by Washington, according to multiple news reports. But President Vladimir Putin said that won't be happening, according to reports by CNN and The Associated Press.

Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said his ministry has proposed that 31 staff members be expelled from the U.S. Embassy in Moscow and four from the American consulate in St Petersburg, CNN reported Friday.

Lavrov called U.S. allegations of Russia’s interference in the U.S. election process “groundless.”

Thursday, the United States ordered 35 Russian diplomats to leave the country and ordered the two Russian compounds closed, The Associated Press reported. The diplomats and their families have 72 hours to leave the country.

Lavrov called the U.S. allegations about election meddling "groundless" and "without proof," CNN reported. "We cannot not respond to this," he said. "This goes against the law of diplomatic relations." But Russia denied a CNN report that Russian authorities had ordered the closure of the Anglo-American School in Moscow to US and foreign nationals. Posting on her official Facebook account, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said: "American officials have 'anonymously briefed' their mass media about the fact that as a retaliatory measure Russia has closed the American School in Moscow. This is a lie. Clearly, the White House has completely lost its senses and begun to invent sanctions against its own children.