CNN: Expelled Russian spies thought to be tracking defectors in US

CNN: Expelled Russian spies thought to be tracking defectors in US
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Some of the Russian diplomats expelled from the United States last month were reportedly tracking Russians who had immigrated to the U.S. 

CNN reported Wednesday that some of the diplomats included suspected Russian spies. Those individuals were thought to be tracking Russians who were deemed traitors or enemies of the Kremlin, U.S. officials told the news outlet. 

In at least one case, the spies were said to be focused on a Russian national who received a new identity as part of a CIA program to protect resettled Russians. 

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The Russian embassy did not respond to a request for comment from CNN.

The White House announced the expulsion of 60 Russian officials last month in response to the attempted poisoning of Sergei Skripal, an ex-Russian spy living in Britain, and his daughter. The U.K., Germany, France and other European nations also blamed the attack on Moscow and expelled Russian diplomats in response.

Russia retaliated by expelling an equal number of U.S. diplomats, and has denied responsibility for the poisoning.

The State Department noted that a number of the expelled Russian diplomats could be replaced by other Russian officials, adding that the same is true for a number of American officials booted from the consulate in St. Petersburg.