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US foreign policy

US orders Russian diplomats expelled from country for ‘espionage activities’

On Thursday, the US announced that it was kicking out Russia’s no. 2 diplomat at the embassy in Washington.

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The US ordered the expulsion of 12 Russian diplomats from the country on Monday for taking part in “espionage activities,” the US mission to the United Nations said.

“The US 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 US by engaging in espionage activities that are adverse to our national security,” the US mission’s spokesperson Olivia Dalton tweeted.

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She added: “We are taking this action in accordance with the headquarters agreement. Today’s action has been in the works for several months.”

Earlier, the deputy US ambassador to the UN told the UN Security Council that the Russian diplomats were asked to leave because of activities “not in accordance with their responsibilities and obligations as diplomats.”

This is the latest in a string of expulsions by Washington and Moscow of respective diplomats from the two capitals.

On Thursday, the US announced that it was kicking out Russia’s no. 2 diplomat at the embassy in Washington.

The decision was in response to Russia ordering the departure of the US Deputy Chief of Mission Bart Gorman from Moscow.

Both sides accuse one another of placing strict restrictions on diplomats and the length of their stay in each country.

Russian diplomats were given a minimum of five months’ notice ahead of their expected departure date from the US, the State Department official previously said.

US officials have said the decision related to Russian diplomats in Washington has nothing to do with the current tensions over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Read more: US companies, individuals banned from dealing with Russia Central Bank, others

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