US spy agencies make 'outrageous' attempts to recruit expelled Russian diplomats – Moscow

US spy agencies make 'outrageous' attempts to recruit expelled Russian diplomats – Moscow
The American intelligence services are hastily trying to recruit Russian diplomats expelled from the US over the Skripal case, Russia's Foreign Ministry said, slamming Washington's behavior as cynical and indecent.

The ministry sounded the alarm over "a sharp increase in provocative actions against Russian diplomats in the US." The ministry said that after the announcement that 60 Russian diplomats are set to leave the US, American secret services have “feverishly” been trying to contact them with various proposals.

"There's been a whole string of outrageous episodes" where the Russian diplomats "were offered 'help' – and not for free, but in exchange for secret relations 'on a mutually beneficial basis,'" the ministry said in a statement.

Moscow accused the US of "pulling a scheme" that involved the "the official authorities unjustly expelling Russian diplomats and the increasingly aggressive American security services immediately attempting to take advantage of this difficult moment for our people." The ministry described the American ploy as "thinly levied" and fruitless, adding that "such behavior looks cynical and disgusting as if Washington has completely ceased to understand the bounds of common decency."

Earlier this week, the US announced it would expel 60 Russian diplomats and close Russia's consulate in Seattle, as the Trump administration fulfilled the UK's calls to punish Russia over its alleged involvement in the poisoning of former double agent Sergei Skripal on British soil. In a tit-for-tat response, Russia said on Thursday that 60 American diplomats would have to leave the country, and it would also close the US consulate in St. Petersburg.

READ MORE: Russia to close US consulate in St. Petersburg, expel 60 diplomats as Washington did – Lavrov

In early March, Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, were poisoned in Salisbury with what the UK called a Soviet-designed nerve agent. Without a proper investigation being carried out, London accused Moscow of being behind the attack, expelled Russian diplomats and introduced other restrictions against the county. Britain urged its allies to follow suit and sanction Moscow as well, with German, France and Poland being among the countries to show Russian diplomats the door.