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Breaking News

Four Russian Diplomats Expelled From U.S.

Aired March 22, 2001 - 1:00 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR: Our top story today, angry reaction from Russia over Washington's decision to expel dozens of its diplomats. These expulsions are in response to Robert Hanssen spy case. The FBI veteran is accused of spying for Moscow over a 15-year period.

We are just now hearing that Moscow has responded with action of its own. Let's go to CNN's Steve Harrigan, who is on the phone with us from Moscow -- Steve.

STEVE HARRIGAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Natalie, throughout most of the day, we heard angry words from Russian politicians. But now we're hearing concrete plans for activity.

We've just spoken with Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov, who told CNN that the Russians would respond. They would expel U.S. diplomats from Moscow.

Mr. Ivanov said the number of diplomats would be the exact same as the U.S. expelled. When asked when it would happen, Mr. Ivanov said, "You won't have to wait long."

Concrete plans already announced by the Russians. Mr. Ivanov said he'd just got off the phone with U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell. Mr. Ivanov said it was not Russia's choice to do this, but they have been forced to take measures to respond to the U.S. action -- Natalie.

ALLEN: Did they say -- excuse me, we didn't hear you -- how many are being expelled?

HARRIGAN: They've given no numbers yet. But they did say that the final total would equal the number of diplomats or spies that the U.S. would expel. So it's a classic tit-for-tat shaking up here in Russia -- Natalie.

ALLEN: Steve Harrigan, thank you. We'll continue to get updates from you on the story that's generating there.

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