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US Expelling 12 Russian Diplomats from UN Mission

US Expelling 12 Russian Diplomats from UN Mission

 

Vladimir Putin has menaced Ukraine for months, positioning military forces along the border and resisting the diplomatic overtures of the West aimed at de-escalating tensions. President Joe Biden had been warning of an invasion, but until this week there had been a sense — including in Russia and Ukraine, where life had been going on mostly as normal until Thursday’s pre-dawn attack–that Putin was bluffing. But then the siege began.

Now the United States is expelling 12 Russian diplomats at the United Nations for engaging in activities not in accordance with their responsibilities and obligations as diplomats. They have all been declared “persona non grata” by U.S. authorities and were instructed to leave the country by March 7th.

U.S. Deputy Ambassador Richard Mills confirmed the expulsions after Russia’s UN Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia told the Security Council on Monday afternoon that he had just been informed. Nebenzia described the move as “yet another hostile step undertaken by the host country” against the Russian Mission. He called the expulsions a “gross violation” of the UN agreement with the U.S. as the host of the United Nations and of the Vienna Convention governing diplomatic relations.

 

The announcement comes as the world continues to criticize Putin’s unsupported invasion of Ukraine. Last week, President Joe Biden announced directed sanctions at Putin and his foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, after the U.S. and its European allies announced their original round of sanctions against Russia. In a move that surprised many, Putin has agreed to end strikes against civilian targets.

Russian troops had breached the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv over the weekend, but the Ukrainian Army and ordinary citizens stood their ground to hold them off.

The Ukrainian Ambassador to the United Nations made it abundantly clear where he and his people stand on the Russian dictator’s unilateral decision to invade.

Putin’s war has been met with protests from Russian citizens who took to the streets under threat of arrest.

[This is a continuing and developing story, please check back for updates]

 

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