12 Russian diplomats will be expelled from the U.S for “engaging in espionage,” according to a tweet from Olivia Dalton, spokeswoman for the U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Linda Thomas-Greenfield.
“The U.S. has informed the Russian Mission that we are beginning the process of expelling 12 intelligence operatives from the Russian Mission who have abused their privileges of residency in the U.S. by engaging in espionage activities that are adverse to our national security,” Dalton explained, adding, “We are taking this action in accordance with the headquarters agreement. Today’s action has been in the works for several months.”
According to CNN, “The Russian diplomats were asked to leave due to their alleged engagement in ‘activities that were not in accordance with their responsibilities and obligations as diplomats,’ Ambassador Richard Mills, deputy representative of the United States to the United Nations, said during a UN Security Council meeting Monday afternoon. Russian Ambassador to the UN Vassily Nebenzia responded by saying Mills’ explanation of the expulsions was ‘not satisfactory.’”
“I’ve just received information that the US authorities have undertaken another hostile action against the Russian Mission to the United Nations grossly violating their commitments on the host country agreement that they undertook. They just visited the Russian Mission and gave us a note prescribing us to do what they demand,” Nebenzia complained.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki confirmed the move was “in the works for several months.”.
“The United States informed the United Nations and the Russian Mission to the United Nations that we were beginning the process of expelling 12 intelligence operatives from the Russian Mission who had abused their privileges of residency in the United States by engaging in espionage activities that are adverse to our national security,” Psaki said.