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Biden Just Booted Russia’s Second-Highest-Ranking Diplomat from US

Russia Su-27
Russia's Su-27 Flanker. Image Credit: Creative Commons.

US and Russia in a diplomatic war of words over Ukraine? While the unprovoked Russian invasion of Ukraine is raging, the U.S. expelled the second-highest-ranking Russian diplomat stationed in Washington. State Department officials, however, said that the expulsion wasn’t related to the Russian invasion but was rather in response to previous expulsions of U.S. diplomats from Russia.

Diplomatic Spat 

On Wednesday, the Associated Press reported that the State Department had decided to expel Minister-Counselor Sergey Trepelkov, the number two at the Russian embassy in the U.S under Ambassador Anatoly Antonov.

The expulsion of the Russian diplomat came in the wake of the expulsion of the American deputy chief of mission from Moscow a few weeks ago. In mid-February, the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs expelled U.S. Deputy of Mission Bart Gorman from the U.S. embassy in Moscow.

Although the expulsion of the Russian diplomat came at a time of sky-high tensions, U.S. officials said that it wasn’t in response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine but rather a response to the expulsion of Gorman.

U.S. Sanctions 

However, something that was related to the Russian invasion of Ukraine was the package of unprecedented sanctions that the U.S. and the U.K. dropped on Moscow on Thursday. The sweeping sanctions blocked or seriously curtailed five Russian financial institutions and also limited exports to Russia in an attempt to frustrate Moscow’ military, aerospace, and technology sectors.

In addition to the above, the U.K. imposed individual sanctions on Russian President Vladimir Putin and Foreign Minister Sergey V. Lavrov. The White House has indicated that it will follow the British example and impose personal sanctions on Putin and Lavrov too, while also considering travel sanctions on the two men.

Shaming At the United Nations

During an emergency meeting of the United Nations Security Council on Friday, the U.S. moved a motion to condemn the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

“This is a simple vote today. Vote yes if you believe in upholding the U.N. charter. Vote yes if you respect Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. Vote yes if Russia should be held to account to its action. Vote no or abstain if you do not believe in the U.N. charter. Vote no and align yourself with the unprovoked actions of Russia. Just as Russia had a choice, so do you,” U.S. ambassador to the U.N., Linda Thomas-Greenfield said.

In the end, Russia vetoed the motion—as expected—while China, India, and the United Arab Emirates abstained; the U.S. and ten other nations voted in favor.

“You can veto this resolution but you cannot veto our voices. You cannot veto the U.N. charter. You cannot veto the Ukrainian people. You cannot veto accountability,” Thomas-Greenfield told the Russian delegation.

1945’s New Defense and National Security Columnist, Stavros Atlamazoglou is a seasoned defense journalist specializing in special operations, a Hellenic Army veteran (national service with the 575th Marine Battalion and Army HQ), and a Johns Hopkins University graduate. His work has been featured in Business InsiderSandboxx, and SOFREP.

1945’s Defense and National Security Columnist, Stavros Atlamazoglou is a seasoned defense journalist with specialized expertise in special operations, a Hellenic Army veteran (national service with the 575th Marine Battalion and Army HQ), and a Johns Hopkins University graduate. His work has been featured in Business Insider, Sandboxx, and SOFREP.