MOSCOW, March 1 — Russia’s ambassador in Washington yesterday described the US expulsion of 12 UN staff as a “hostile move”.

“This is a hostile move against our country,” Anatoly Antonov said on Facebook, adding that Moscow was “deeply disappointed” and “totally rejected” the US claims.

A spokeswoman for the US mission to the UN said those ordered to leave had “abused their privileges of residency in the United States by engaging in espionage activities that are adverse to our national security”.

But Antonov said Washington had once again failed to “fulfil its obligations to ensure normal conditions for the working of foreign missions to the UN.

“Russian diplomats have once again been targeted,” he said.

“Washington’s acts are neither aimed at calming the scene on the international front, nor maintaining bilateral relations between two great powers at a level necessary for peace and international security,” he added.

The 12 have been ordered to leave by March 7, according to Russia’s ambassador ro the UN. — AFP