UNITED NATIONS, March 26. /TASS/. Russia’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations Vasily Nebenzya has described the United States’ decision to expel 12 staff members of the Russian mission to the UN as an unfriendly step.
"It is a highly misjudged and unfriendly step," he said on Monday. "We have been notified that 12 our staff members are to leave the United States."
He said he doesn’t think such actions comply with the terms of the agreement between the United States and the United Nations.
Earlier on Monday, Washington announced its decision to expel 60 Russian diplomats, including 48 embassy staff and 12 members of Russia’s Permanent Mission to the United Nations, demanding they leave the country within one week. Apart from that, it said Russia’s consulate general in Seattle would be closed. The move was prompted by the incident with poisoning of former Russian military intelligence officer Sergei Skripal and his daughter in Salisbury, the United Kingdom.
On March 4, former Russian military intelligence officer Sergei Skripal, who had been convicted in Russia of spying for Great Britain and exchanged for Russian intelligence officers, and his daughter Yulia were found unconscious on a bench near the Maltings shopping center in Salisbury. Police said they had been exposed to a nerve agent. Both are in the hospital in a critical condition.
The UK accused Russia of being involved, but failed to produce any evidence. UK Prime Minister Theresa May accused Russia of "unlawful use of force" against her country. She identified the substance used in the attack as a Novichok nerve agent, developed in the former Soviet Union. London expelled 23 Russian diplomats and announced other restrictive measures against Moscow.
Russia has rejected all of the United Kingdom’s accusations, saying that a program aimed at developing such a substance had existed neither in the Soviet Union nor in Russia. In response to the UK’s steps, 23 British diplomats were expelled from Russia, Britain’s consulate in St. Petersburg was closed and the British Council’s operations in Russia were terminated. Furthermore, Moscow pointed out that further measures could be taken "should there be any more hostile actions against Russia.".