The Russian ambassador to the United Nations said Monday that relations between Moscow and Washington had deteriorated to the point of crisis after the U.S. and other western nations expelled dozens of Russia diplomats they accused of being spies, Fox News reports.
Vassily Nebenzia spoke briefly to reporters outside a diplomatic luncheon in New York hours after President Trump ordered 60 Russian diplomats out of the U.S. and closed down the Russian consulate in Seattle. When one reporter asked whether U.S.-Russia relations were in crisis, Nebenzia said: “It’s been [in crisis for] some time already. Didn’t you notice?”
“Diplomacy supposes that there is a response when such things happen. Normally there’s a mirror-like response, but wait for what Moscow will say.
Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said that Moscow would respond to the actions of each individual state that has expelled Russian diplomats.
As he got into his car, Nebenzia added: “Ask [U.S. Ambassador to the U.N.] Nikki [Haley] or the State Department or somebody else.”
Moments earlier, Haley told reporters that the expulsions were in response to “unacceptable” Russian espionage activity in the U.S.
“We take no joy in having to do this, but we’re not going to roll over and let them get away with this the way they have,” Haley said.
A growing number of countries around the world have announced measures against Moscow following the nerve agent attack in the U.K. in early March, leaving Russia looking increasingly isolated, CNBC reported.
Here’s a list of countries that have announced measures against Russia:
UK: Expelled 23 Russians alleged to have worked as spies under diplomatic cover. It also promised to freeze any Russian state assets that “may be used to threaten the life or property of U.K. nationals or residents.”
US: Expelling 60 Russians, including 12 intelligence officers from Russia’s mission to the UN headquarters in New York. Closing Russian consulate in Seattle.
CANADA: Expelling four Russians alleged to have worked as spies or interfered in Canadian affairs under diplomatic cover. Denying three applications for Russian diplomatic staff.
FRANCE: Expelling four diplomats
GERMANY: Expelling four diplomats
POLAND: Expelling four diplomats
ITALY: Expelling two diplomats
SPAIN: Expelling two diplomats
LITHUANIA: Expelling three diplomats
CZECH REPUBLIC: Expelling three diplomats
CROATIA: Expelling one diplomat
NETHERLANDS: Expelling two diplomats
DENMARK: Expelling two diplomats
NORWAY: Expelling one diplomat
LATVIA: Expelling one diplomat
SWEDEN: Expelling one diplomat
ALBANIA: Expelling two diplomats
ESTONIA: Expelling one diplomat
FINLAND: Expelling one diplomat
HUNGARY: Expelling one diplomat
UKRAINE: Expelling 13 Russian diplomats
ROMANIA: Expelling one diplomat
AUSTRALIA: Expelling 2 Russian diplomats, said it might boycott the soccer World Cup.
For its part, Russia expelled 23 U.K. diplomats from Russia last week in a “tit for tat” move. But how it will react to other nations is yet to be seen, but analysts believe it will retaliate in turn against those countries.
While President Donald Trump’s conciliatory rhetoric toward Moscow has dominated headlines, officials at the U.S. State Department, Pentagon and White House made a series of lower-profile decisions over the past year to counter Russia around the world – from Afghanistan to North Korea to Syria.
In Syria last month, the U.S. military killed or injured as many as 300 men working for a Kremlin-linked private military firm after they attacked U.S. and U.S.-backed forces. The White House, meanwhile, firmly tied Russia to deadly strikes on civilians in Syria’s eastern Ghouta region.
Both the White House and Pentagon’s top policy documents unveiled in January portrayed Russia as an adversary that had returned to the center of U.S. national security planning, Reuters reports.
In Afghanistan, Trump’s top commander on the ground accused Russia again last week of arming Taliban militants.
On North Korea, President Trump himself told Reuters in January that Russia was helping Pyongyang evade United Nations sanctions.
New Zealand stands ready to join the rest of the world in expelling Russian spies from its sovereign territory – if any Moscow operatives can be found. Breitbart:
“While other countries have announced they are expelling undeclared Russian intelligence agents, officials have advised there are no individuals here in New Zealand who fit this profile. If there were, we would have already taken action,”
Chris “Badger” Thomas is a Veteran who served our country as an Army Combat Medic.
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