UNITED NATIONS: The United States has ordered 12 members of Russia’s Mission to the United Nations in New York to leave the country by March 7, Russian Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia said Monday, warning that Moscow was bound to respond.
He told reporters that the US’s decision to expel its diplomats was a “gross violation” of its position as the host country of the UN. “There are a lot of countries that understand what the Russian position is and what it is doing and why,” he said.
Russia’s UN ambassador, who was addressing a press conference, paused and took a phone call on his cellphone. He then announces that US authorities told the Russian Mission to the UN that they were declaring 12 diplomats from the Russian Mission “persona non grata” and demanding they leave the US by March 7.
“It’s bad news,” said Nebenzia, refusing to specify whether he was among those told to leave.
He did not relay any reason given by the United States or whether the move was linked to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
State Department spokesman Ned Price told a separate briefing in Washington that he didn’t have any details “in front of me.”
Replying to a question, Ambassador Nebenzia said that Moscow would be giving an appropriate response to the US action.
Meanwhile, US Deputy Ambassador Richard Mills confirmed the expulsions, saying the concerned Russian diplomats were engaging in activities not in accordance with their responsibilities and obligations as diplomats.