UNITED NATIONS, March 27. /TASS/. The decision of the United States to expel Russian diplomats can be seen as the United States abusing its rights, Russia's permanent representative to the United Nations Vasily Nebenzia said at a meeting with reporters.
"The staff of the Russian Permanent Mission to the UN are accredited to the UN and carry out their functional duties exclusively within the organization," he said. "Since the central agencies of the United Nations are located on the territory of the United States, the host country has a special duty to honor the privileges and immunities of staff members of permanent missions of member countries, as well as employees of the UN Secretariat who are citizens of other states," he added.
"The expulsion of Russian diplomats, as well as other recent unfriendly actions - denial of access to Russian diplomatic property, non-issuance of visas for mission staff and other - can be regarded as the United States abusing its rights and obligations of the host state," he said.
Earlier, US authorities have decided to expel 60 Russian diplomats and close the Russian consulate in Seattle. The diplomats being expelled from the US include 48 embassy staff and 12 members of Russia’s Permanent Mission to the United Nations.
While speaking about the members of Russia’s Permanent Mission to the UN, the US administration official alleged that they were involved in "aggressive collection here in the US" thus abusing their residence privileges under the UN headquarters agreement.
The Russian diplomats are supposed to leave the United States within a week.
On March 4, former Russian military intelligence (GRU) Colonel Sergei Skripal, who had been convicted in Russia of spying for Great Britain and exchanged for Russian intelligence officers, and his daughter Yulia suffered the effects of a nerve agent in the British city of Salisbury.
British Prime Minister Theresa May said the substance used in the attack had been a Novichok-class nerve agent developed in the Soviet Union. London expelled 23 Russian diplomats and announced other restrictive measures against Moscow.
Moscow 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 retaliation to the UK’s steps, 23 British diplomats were expelled, the British consulate general in the city of St. Petersburg was closed and the British Council had to shut down its operations in Russia. At the same time, Moscow pointed out that further measures could be taken "should there be any more hostile actions against Russia.".