The United States has asked 12 Russian United Nations diplomats to leave the US, accusing them of “espionage activities” as Russia continues its offensive against Ukraine, CNN reports.
The Russian diplomats were asked to leave due to their alleged involvement in “activities that were inconsistent with their duties and obligations as diplomats,” US Deputy Representative to the UN Ambassador Richard Mills said during the UN Security Council meeting on February 28 afternoon.
Russian Ambassador to the UN Vasily Nebenzya responded by saying that Mills' explanation of the expulsion was “unsatisfactory”.
The expulsion of the diplomats was announced less than a week after Russia launched its attack on Ukraine, although the US said the move had been in the making for months. Last week, the US expelled the second-ranking diplomat from the Russian embassy in response to Moscow's expulsion of the second-ranking US diplomat in Moscow earlier in the year. The State Department announced the deportation hours after Moscow began bombing and invading Ukraine.
The US Mission to the UN also said 12 Russian diplomats were “intelligence operatives… who abused their privileges of living in the US” by engaging in espionage activities that harm our national security.”
“Today's actions have been in the making for several months,” US mission spokeswoman Olivia Alair Dalton said.
Nebenzya first announced the expulsion during a previous press briefing at the UN on Feb. 28 afternoon. He said he did not know which 12 diplomats were among those asked to leave the country, but said that US representatives visited the Russian mission to the UN and delivered a letter demanding to leave the country by March 7.
“I just received information that the US authorities have taken another hostile action against the Russian Mission to the UN, grossly violating their obligations under the agreement with the host country, which they assumed,” Nebenzya told reporters. – They just visited the Russian representation and gave us a note instructing us to do what they demand.”
Boycott of Russia
On February 28, the UN General Assembly held a special session to consider the issue of Russia's large-scale military aggression against Ukraine.
Ukraine's Permanent Representative to the UN Serhiy Kyslytsya made an official statement. It spoke about Russia's lack of rights to be a UN member at all, according to Zaxid.
“Putin has done everything possible to delegitimize Russia's presence in the UN. But I think the presence of Russia in the UN was generally legitimate? I think, has there ever been a vote on Russia's accession to the UN within these walls? December 1991 or January 1992 or sometime? Let me ask the delegates – which countries voted for the entry of the Russian Federation into the UN? Please raise your hands. Confirm that Russia has been admitted to the UN. (None of the delegates raised their hand – ed.). With that I will leave you to reflect, listening to the words of the Russian representative”, – Sergey Kislitsa said.
And on March 1, during the broadcast of the speech of Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov at the UN conference, a number of Western delegations staged a boycott and left the hall, reports Rambler.
After the broadcast began, diplomats “large numbers” countries hurried out of the room. At the same time, outside the hall, the demarche was greeted with applause. Delegations from Yemen, Algeria, Venezuela, Syria and Tunisia remained to listen to the Russian minister.
Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova called the diplomats who boycotted Lavrov “hypocrites and bigots.” According to her, such a boycott has never been arranged for Ukraine “whose regime killed civilians in the Donbass.”
Katrine Johns has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining The Gal Post, Katrine Johns worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my email@example.com 1-800-268-7128