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US Will 'Not Hesitate' to Expel Even More Russian Diplomats Deemed 'Spies' - Sullivan

© REUTERS / LEAH MILLISU.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan speaks to the media about the war in Ukraine and other topics at the White House in Washington, U.S., March 22, 2022.
U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan speaks to the media about the war in Ukraine and other topics at the White House in Washington, U.S., March 22, 2022. - Sputnik International, 1920, 11.04.2022
In recent weeks, a number of European states expelled a large number of diplomatic employees of Russian diplomatic missions over the provocation in the Ukrainian city of Bucha. And on Thursday, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken warned that the US may follow the lead in removing Russian diplomats.
White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan stated on Sunday that the US will "not hesitate" to expel more Russian diplomats from the country for alleged espionage operations.
In an interview with NBC's "Meet the Press," Sullivan said Washington is "always on the lookout for anyone connected to espionage or spy services" and "will not hesitate to take further action to declare persona non grata to expel, to kick out further Russian quote unquote ‘diplomats’ if we determine they’re spies."

"We have, in fact, expelled 12 Russian diplomats, and many of these countries that announced actions this week were catching up to the previous American announcement of expulsions," he added.

The adviser and the host were discussing the measures undertaken by almost two dozen European countries who have moved to expel dozens of Russian diplomats, along with the fate of the roughly 400 Russian officials still in the US.
According to the US Mission to the United Nations, in February, the US moved to expel those "operatives" for allegedly "engaging in espionage activities" that pose a national security threat, noting that such expulsions had been planned for several months and were not necessarily in response to the Russian special military operation in Ukraine.
"If you look at the way that we do this, every year we take an assessment of who we believe is operating undercover of one of the Russian spy services," he explained. "If we make a determination that someone’s here not as a diplomat but as a spy, we kick them out and we’ll continue to do that."
In a separate interview aired on CBS also on Sunday, Sullivan was also pressed about when US diplomats are expected to return to Kiev after US Secretary of State Antony Blinken ordered embassy workers to relocate to Lviv more than a month ago and then revealed that staff would spend nights in Poland a week later.
"We’re working through when we will be in a position to set our diplomatic presence back up in Kyiv," he said. "That’s a judgment that gets worked through our security professionals. They are actively doing that. In the meantime… the United States is surging resources, weapons, military equipment, but also diplomatic resources, to support the Ukrainians."
Moreover, Sullivan told ABC's This Week that a drive to isolate Russia from the global economy is expected to end in Russia losing its status as "one of the world’s major economies" as a result of the economic pressure applied to them.
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