Russian diplomats harassed by US, not other way around – Moscow on Wash Post article
It’s the Russian diplomats who are being pressured, not the other way around, the Foreign Ministry said, blasting a Washington Post article that claimed Russia harasses US diplomatic staff at home and all across Europe.
“The Washington Post has published an article on alleged harassment of US diplomats in Russia and in other countries. But, on the contrary, the pressure is increasing on Russian diplomats,” Maria Zakharova, Russia’s Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, said Tuesday.
According to the spokeswoman, Washington is “constantly coming up with new restrictions against our diplomats, who constantly face provocations from the FBI and the CIA.”
She stressed that “unacceptable measures” are being applied against them, including “psychological pressure in the presence of their families.”
“There even had been cases when such actions were carried out in the presence of pregnant wives of our diplomats,” she added.
"Instead of receiving our signal, identifying the problem and creating conditions to improve our relations, they (the US) flip everything upside down” by releasing the publication, she added.
On Monday, the Washington Post published an article, entitled, “Russia is harassing US diplomats all over Europe.”
The author of the piece claimed that instances of Russian pressure included breaking into the homes of American embassy staff, rearranging furniture there and even killing a family dog.
Zakharova slammed the article by the US paper as a perfect example of “propaganda,” adding that it was “obviously played up.”
"This publication is shallow, this publication does not reflect the real picture, it was prepared hastily, it was prepared by hearsay," she stressed.
The main expert in the article is the former US ambassador to Moscow Michael McFaul, who Zakharova called “unfit for [his] profession” who now talks about the hardships of working in Moscow after failing on the job.
“McFaul failed [in] his diplomatic mission in Moscow, and possibly it was his efforts that contributed to the worsening of bilateral relations,” she said.
Zakharova said that despite the pressure Moscow is ready to work with Washington to improve relations.
"Our counterparts should make up their mind as to what is it they want in reality: to develop relations, or at least, not to make them worse, or cook [up] more such publications," she said.
In May, the US Senate Intelligence Committee passed The 2017 Intelligence Authorization Bill, which among other measures, proposes restrictions on travel by Russian diplomats in the US.
The legislation would require the FBI to investigate all requests by US-based Russian diplomats to travel outside his or her official post, in order to ensure the diplomats have properly notified the US government of their travel plans.
The Senate is to vote on the proposal later in summer, with Moscow saying that it will respond with mirror-like measures to restrictions on its diplomatic staff.
"As it worsens relations with Russia, Washington makes the working conditions for its diplomats worse, too," Zakharova said.
"We do hope that we will achieve constructive relations with the United States. We are prepared for that," she added.