Shafaq News/ The United States announced Monday it is expelling 12 members of the Russian Mission at the United Nations, accusing them of being “intelligence operatives” engaged in espionage.
The Biden administration’s action came on the fifth day of Russia’s invasion of neighboring Ukraine, which has sparked condemnation from the United States and dozens of other countries.
The U.S. Mission to the United Nations said in a statement that the Russian diplomats “have abused their privileges of residency in the United States by engaging in espionage activities that are adverse to our national security.”
The mission said the expulsions have been “in development for several months” and are in accordance with the United States’ agreement with the United Nations as host of the 193-member world body.
Russian Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia told The Associated Press, when asked his reaction to the U.S. saying the Russians were engaged in espionage: “They always do. That’s the pretext all the time when they announce somebody persona non grata. That is the only explanation they give.”
Did he expect Russia to reciprocate? “That’s not for me to decide but in the diplomatic practice, that’s a normal thing.,” he said.
Source: The Associated Press