The BBC have reported that a Private firm has been employed by The US State Department to provide security for its Moscow embassy and diplomatic missions in Russia.
The firm, Elite Security Holdings is a private firm set up by the ex-KGB General Viktor Budanov.
A notice on the US State Department website shows the contract with Elite Security Holdings is worth more than $2.8m (£2.1m).
A document posted online outlining “justification and approval” for the contract says guards at the Moscow embassy and other US missions were among the staff included in the expulsion order, adding: “The only option available, to ensure security services continue, is via a commercial contract.”
It said the US government had contacted more than three US private security firms but had not found one “with the requisite licensing or desire to operate in-country”.
“Due to the urgency of this requirement, the Department of State sought a firm with the requisite licensing and capacity to quickly stand up guard operations at all four US Mission Russia posts,” it says.
“The number of firms that met this requirement limited the number of sources considered to one – Elite Security Services Holding Co.”
The Russian daily Kommersant says Elite Security Holdings, founded in 1997, is now run by Gen Budanov’s son, Dmitry Budanov.
On its website, the security company says it operates across Russia, Europe and countries formerly in the Soviet Union.
The move to employ Elite Security Holdings comes after Moscow ordered the US diplomatic missions in Russia to more than halve its staff, a cut of some 755, in retaliation for new US sanctions against Moscow. The US sanctions were intended as punishment for the Russian annexation of Crimea in 2014 and alleged Russian interference in the US election when the the then President Barack Obama ordered the expulsion of 35 Russian diplomats, along with the closure of two compounds.