Russia expels US diplomats in retaliatory move

Decision was made in response to expulsion by Washington of Russian diplomats at UN in New York, source says

A general view of the Kremlin, Red Square and St. Basil's Cathedral in central Moscow. AFP

Live updates: follow the latest news on Russia-Ukraine

Russia on Wednesday said it was expelling US diplomats in retaliation for Washington's move to remove 12 of Moscow's representatives to the UN based in New York.

"On March 23, a note with the list of the American diplomats declared 'persona non grata' was handed to the head of the American diplomatic mission who was summoned to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs," the ministry said.

The decision was taken in response to the expulsion by Washington of Russian diplomats at the UN in New York, a source said.

"The US side has been given firm notice that any hostile action by the United States against Russia will be met with a resolute and appropriate response," the ministry said.

The US expelled 12 members of the Russian diplomatic mission to the UN on charges of "espionage" in early March amid an open crisis with Russia over Ukraine.

"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," said Olivia Dalton, spokeswoman for the US mission to the UN.

The Russian ambassador to the US, Anatoli Antonov, denounced it as a "hostile move", saying the actions were a cause of "deep disappointment and absolute rejection" in Moscow.

Updated: March 23, 2022, 10:20 PM