Photo Credit: U.S. Mission to UN / Eric Bridiers
UN Ambassador Nikki Haley

The United States has begun procedures to expel a dozen Russian intelligence personnel from the United Nations headquarters in New York City, it was announced Monday.

The news comes as part of the government’s response to Moscow’s “participation in the atrocities in Syria,” its actions in Ukraine and its assassination attempt with a nerve agent against a former spy and his daughter in Britain, according to U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley.

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The ambassador said in a statement: “Today, the United States began the process of expelling 12 intelligence operatives from the Russian Mission to the United Nations who have abused their privilege of residence in the United States. After a review, we have determined that the 12 intelligence operatives engaged in espionage activities that are adverse to‎ our national security. Our actions are consistent with the United Nations Headquarters Agreement.

“Separately, ‎President Trump ordered the expulsion of 48 Russian intelligence officers and the closure of the Russian Consulate General in Seattle.

“The President’s decision today shows that Russia’s actions have consequences. Beyond Russia’s destabilizing behavior across the world, such as its participation in the atrocities in Syria and its illegal actions in Ukraine, it has now used a chemical weapon within the borders of one of our closest allies. Here in New York, Russia uses the United Nations as a safe haven for dangerous activities within our own borders. Today, the United States and many of our friends are sending a clear message that we will not stand for Russia’s misconduct,” Haley said.

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.