Russian Federation expels two United States diplomats over incident with Moscow policeman

by Edgar Walsh Julio 10, 2016, 4:04

The United States expelled two Russian officials in response to a videotaped incident of an American diplomat being attacked by a policeman in Moscow last month.

John Kirby, a State Department spokesman, called the Russian version of events "simply untrue" and said it was part of a pattern of intensifying harassment of American diplomats in the past two years.

"The action was unprovoked and endangered the safety of our employee", he added.

Well, the U.S. State Department announced yesterday that they expelled two Russian diplomats in response.

The decision came after one USA diplomat had an altercation with local police near the embassy in Moscow.

According to Russian State News Agency Sputnik, Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said two Americans were declared persona non grata after an "unfriendly move" by the USA that was not specified. If it decides, however, to move further along the path of escalation, [such policy] will not remain unanswered, " Ryabkov warned.

The incident was the latest in what the State Department calls harassment and ill-treatment of American diplomats working in Russian Federation.

On July 6, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said the US media unfolded a campaign to make an enemy out of Russia.

The confrontation was first reported in The Washington Post on June 29 by national security columnist Josh Rogin who cited unidentified us officials in reporting that the guard was a member of Russia's Federal Security Service, the successor to the Soviet-era KGB. "We have outlined all facts, everyone may make their own conclusions", she said.

Moscow, disputes the U.S. version of events and insists the diplomat was a Central Intelligence Agency agent who attacked the policeman as he tried to stop him to check his ID as he returned from a spying mission in the city.

The Russian embassy in the USA did not have any immediate comment Saturday.

Trudeau also noted that in January, the USA withdrew its acceptance of credentials from five of the six Russian honorary consuls in the United States in part because of such "widespread harassment". She said over the past two years that "harassment and surveillance" of US diplomatic personnel in Moscow by police and security personnel has increased "significantly".

Relations between Russian Federation and the United States have chilled following Moscow's annexation of the Crimean peninsula from Ukraine in 2014, after which the west imposed sanctions against Russian Federation. In the most recent incident, a Russian ship last week came within 150 yards of a U.S. Navy vessel, the USS San Jacinto, that was sailing in the eastern Mediterranean.


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