The US has expelled 12 diplomats from Russia’s mission to the UN, saying they engaged in espionage activities, a move which Moscow described as a “hostile action” and a gross violation of the commitments by the US as the host country of the United Nations headquarters.
US Mission to the United Nations Spokesperson Olivia Dalton said that the US has informed the United Nations and the Russian Permanent Mission to the United Nations that we are beginning the process of expelling twelve intelligence operatives from the Russian Mission who have abused their privileges of residency in the United States by engaging in espionage activities that are adverse to our national security.
Russia’s Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia was addressing an end of Presidency press conference at the UN Headquarters when he got a telephone call informing him of the expulsion of his diplomats by the US. Russia was President of the 15-nation Security Council for the month of February.
“I just received the information that the US authorities have undertaken another hostile action against the Russian mission to the United Nations, grossly violating their commitments under the host country agreement. They told us they are announcing 12 people (UN diplomats) from the personnel of the Russian mission persona non grata and demanding that they leave by March 7′, Nebenzia said.
He said the US authorities just visited the Russian mission and gave us a note prescribing us to do what they demand. You know that with the Secretary-General we raised the issue of arbitrage with the host country, which grossly violates its commitments under the host country agreement. So far it has not been done, but I think it’s high time already. This is just hot news that I received right away.
When asked who the Russian diplomats were who have been expelled, he said he didn’t know the names yet, but that they are 12 in number.