After the Russian government recognized the independence of the Donetsk and Lugansk People's Republics and Moscow's response to their request of a special military operation in Ukraine for a "demilitarization" and "denazification" of the country, the relations between the European country and the West have continued to worsen.
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On Monday the Russian envoy to the UN, Vasily Nebenzia said that the U.S. has designated 12 of the personnel of the Russian diplomatic mission to the UN as personae non-gratae, requesting them to leave the country by March 7. The official described this action as "another hostile step" of the U.S. government against Russia.
"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 [UN-US] Host Country Agreement that they undertook, telling us that they're announcing 12 people from the personnel of the Russian Mission personae non-gratae, and demanding that they leave by the 7th of March," stated Nebenzia.
Nebenzia was informed about the recent move of the U.S. at the beginning of his press briefing intended to mark the end of Russia's UN Security Council presidency. The envoy noted that the expulsion of Russian diplomats from Russia's Permanent Mission to the UN demonstrated U.S disrespect of its obligations under the UN Charter and the host country agreement.
Nebenzia disclosed that within the Russian mission, there are many diplomats whose visas have not been extended, said the envoy, answering about whether Russian diplomats' visas were ordered to leave the mission. During the press briefing, Nebenzia stated that Kiev's readiness for denazification and demilitarization would represent the end of the Russian operation in Ukraine.
Referring to the multiple fake news reports about the situation in Ukraine, comprising the alleged bombing of Ukraine's civilian infrastructure by the Russian military, the envoy noted that the reports of casualties in Kharkov, explosions in Kiev must be verified."The reports ... may not be credible at all. We have regular briefings by our Ministry of Defense which maintains that we are not targeting civilian objects in Ukraine nor the cities as such. So these reports about the bombing of Kharkov or explosions in Kiev should be verified," said Nebenzia answering to what Russia is doing to prevent deaths among civilians in Ukraine amid reports of casualties from alleged shelling of Kharkov.
"I do not have this information. We saw some footage of buildings partially destroyed. But it was then said and confirmed by our military that was not our missiles, but either a plane of Ukraine or a ... missile that went into that building. We didn't bomb residential areas of Kiev," responded the Russian envoy about the video footage depicting a residential building in Kiev hit by an airstrike.