The United States, in an escalation of diplomatic actions against Russia, has asked twelve United Nations diplomats on Monday, Feb. 28. to leave the country as they accuse them of “espionage activities,” which representatives from the country strongly deny.

The twelve diplomats, whose names and identities have not yet been disclosed as of press time, were reportedly participating in activities that may undermine the national security of the United States, though specificity on the activities has been scarce, CNN reported.

The order was announced during the U.N. Security Council meeting on Monday, a continued escalation of diplomatic actions that the United States has taken against Russia, which has included expelling the second-most senior diplomat in the Russian embassy this year.

“The U.S. 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,” Olivia Dalton, the U.S. spokesperson to the U.N., tweeted.

The Russian mission to the U.N. has responded angrily to the requests, as they state that the U.S. was violating the U.N.’s agreement to the U.S. as the host country of the United Nations and that their explanations regarding the expulsion were unsatisfactory, according to the Independent.

“I've just received information that the US authorities have undertaken another hostile action against the Russian Mission to the United Nations grossly violating their commitments on the host country agreement that they undertook,” Russian Ambassador to the U.N. Vassily Nebenzia said.

“They just visited the Russian Mission and gave us a note prescribing us to do what they demand,” he continued.

Tensions between the United States and Russia have come to a boiling point after the attempted Russian invasion of Ukraine, which the United States has condemned. They have largely rallied the West to impose sanctions on Russia in an attempt to cripple their economy.

The twelve diplomats have been asked to leave the country by March 7.

The United States has asked for twelve diplomats for the Russian Mission to the United Nations to leave the country by March 7, citing alleged espionage activities in their reasoning for the kick-out. This is a representational image. the blowup/Unsplash.

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