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MOSCOW (Reuters) - U.S. diplomats expelled by Russia over the poisoning of a former spy in Britain were seen leaving the U.S. embassy in Moscow on Thursday morning to make their way to the airport, the TASS news agency reported.

Russia expelled 60 U.S. diplomats one week ago and ordered the closure of the U.S. consulate in St Petersburg in retaliation for Washington's expulsion of the same number of Russian diplomats and closure of Russia's consulate in Seattle.

The U.S. move was part of a much wider Western response to the nerve agent poisoning of Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in an English city, a crime Britain blamed on Russia, which denies wrongdoing.

TASS reported that three coaches believed to be carrying departing diplomats were seen leaving the U.S. embassy in central Moscow on Thursday morning to head for the airport.

Russia expelled 58 diplomats from the U.S. embassy in Moscow and two from the U.S. consulate in the city of Yekaterinburg.

(Reporting by Andrew Osborn; Editing by Andrey Ostroukh)

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Reuters