Filed Under: International

US expels Russian diplomats, EU adds more sanctions

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On the same day more Russians received sanctions for the country’s invasion of Ukraine, the United States announced the expulsion of 12 diplomats from the Russian Mission to the United Nations. According to a statement from a spokesperson for the U.S. mission to the U.N., the 12 “have abused their privileges of residency in the United States by engaging in espionage activities that are adverse to our national security.”

“We are taking this action in accordance with the UN Headquarters Agreement. This action has been in development for several months,” spokesperson Olivia Dalton said in the Monday statement.

While the expulsions were seemingly unrelated to the current Russian invasion of Ukraine, Russia’s ambassador to the U.N. found out about it as he briefed reporters on the invasion at U.N. headquarters. He had to briefly pause the briefing so he could take a phone call with the news. The video above shows his reaction to the news.

“Just received information that the U.S. authorities have undertaken another hostile action against the Russian mission to the United States, to the United Nations, grossly violating their commitments on the host country agreement that they undertook, telling us that they are announcing 12 people from the personnel of the Russian mission ‘persona non grata,’ and demanding that they will leave by the 7th of March,” Vassily Nebenzia said. “This is sad news.”

The Russian diplomats’ expulsions come as the European Union used sanctions to further turn up the economic heat on Russia over its invasion of Ukraine. The bloc announced Monday it has sanctioned 26 more Russians, including oligarchs and senior Kremlin officials, as well as one energy company.

“With these additional sanctions, we are targeting all who are having a significant economic role in supporting Putin’s regime, and benefit financially from the system. These sanctions will expose the wealth of Putin’s elite,” EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said in a statement. “Those who enable the invasion of Ukraine will pay a price for their action.”

The EU said it has now sanctioned 680 Russians and 53 Russian entities. Those entities consist mostly of organizations, agencies, banks or companies.

assily Nebenzia, Russian ambassador to the UN and Security Council president: “Authorities started to persecute those who who were not…Would you allow me just a second, because I need to answer this call, please?”

“Just received information that the U.S. authorities have undertaken another hostile action against the Russian mission to the United States, to the United Nations, grossly violating their commitments on the host country agreement that they undertook, telling us that they are announcing 12 people from the personnel of the Russian mission ‘persona non grata,’ and demanding that they will leave by the 7th of March.”

Journalist: “They’re UN diplomats?”

Nebenzia: “Yes, UN diplomats…UN diplomats. They just visited the Russian mission and gave us a note prescribing us to to do what they demand. You know that we were raising with the secretary general the issue of the arbitrage with the host country, which grossly violates its commitments on 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 arrived at my attention right away. That’s why I took the phone. Sorry?”

Journalist: “Twelve diplomats?”

Nebenzia: “Yes, 12 diplomats, yes.”

Journalist: “Do you know who they are?”

Nebenzia: “Sorry?”

Journalist: “Who are they and who is the most senior?”

Nebenzia: “I don’t know the names yet, but the number is 12.”

Journalist: “Nobody in this room?”

Nebenzia: “Sorry?”

Journalist: “Nobody in this room, I hope?”

Nebenzia: “None of you, at least. Coming back, this is sad news. And again, another demonstration of gross disrespect of the host country agreement to the to their commitments as I said within the framework of their obligations under both under the UN charter and the host country agreement and Vienna conventions, obviously. So, coming back to Ukraine, I said that…”

Journalist: “Sorry, just can we just ask one more thing. Did they give a reason?”

Nebenzia: “Sorry?”

Journalist: “What was their reason?”

Nebenzia: “I don’t know yet. I haven’t seen the note. I will give you updates as soon as we have more information.”

On the same day more Russians received sanctions for the country’s invasion of Ukraine, the United States announced the expulsion of 12 diplomats from the Russian Mission to the United Nations. According to a statement from a spokesperson for the U.S. mission to the U.N., the 12 “have abused their privileges of residency in the United States by engaging in espionage activities that are adverse to our national security.”

“We are taking this action in accordance with the UN Headquarters Agreement. This action has been in development for several months,” spokesperson Olivia Dalton said in the Monday statement.

While the expulsions were seemingly unrelated to the current Russian invasion of Ukraine, Russia’s ambassador to the U.N. found out about it as he briefed reporters on the invasion at U.N. headquarters. He had to briefly pause the briefing so he could take a phone call with the news. The video above shows his reaction to the news.

“Just received information that the U.S. authorities have undertaken another hostile action against the Russian mission to the United States, to the United Nations, grossly violating their commitments on the host country agreement that they undertook, telling us that they are announcing 12 people from the personnel of the Russian mission ‘persona non grata,’ and demanding that they will leave by the 7th of March,” Vassily Nebenzia said. “This is sad news.”

The Russian diplomats’ expulsions come as the European Union used sanctions to further turn up the economic heat on Russia over its invasion of Ukraine. The bloc announced Monday it has sanctioned 26 more Russians, including oligarchs and senior Kremlin officials, as well as one energy company.

“With these additional sanctions, we are targeting all who are having a significant economic role in supporting Putin’s regime, and benefit financially from the system. These sanctions will expose the wealth of Putin’s elite,” EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said in a statement. “Those who enable the invasion of Ukraine will pay a price for their action.”

The EU said it has now sanctioned 680 Russians and 53 Russian entities. Those entities consist mostly of organizations, agencies, banks or companies.

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