Russia responds to US intelligence reported recruiting attempts
Moscow has issued a harsh response to reported attempts by US intelligence agencies to recruit Russian citizens, including diplomatic staff, saying it is unacceptable and shameless behavior.
Speaking during a conference call on Monday, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov confirmed that Moscow is aware of the reports of such actions and shares the concerns of Russia’s Ambassador to the US Anatoly Antonov, who reported these attempts in the first place.
“There is such information in the Kremlin. We share the concern of the head of our US diplomatic mission. The very impudent behavior of representatives of the American intelligence services in relation to our citizens and employees of our foreign agencies, we consider this unacceptable,” said Peskov.
On Sunday, Antonov stated that employees of Russia’s diplomatic mission in the US were constantly being threatened with physical violence and compared the Russian embassy in the US to a besieged castle.
“Every day our diplomatic mission faces anti-Russian protests, and there are occasional hooligan antics and acts of vandalism. The embassy staff are receiving threats, including those of physical violence,” said Antonov during a Russian talk show appearance.
He also claimed that American intelligence agencies were trying to encourage Russian diplomats to commit treason, saying that representatives of these agencies were “flaunting around the Russian embassy” and handing out the phone numbers of the FBI and the CIA, where the diplomats are asked to call to establish cooperation. Antonov also said that embassy workers were receiving targeted text messages on their mobile phones with the agencies’ contact information and “invitations to respond to these appeals.”
Commenting on the “total hybrid war” that the collective West has launched against Russia, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov stated on Saturday that Western countries were unable to find traitors among Russia’s diplomats despite such attempts being made both inside Russia and abroad.
Lavrov also noted that Russian diplomats continue to faithfully carry out their duties, despite the difficult foreign political situation in the world, which he claimed was worse than during the Cold War.
“The [anti-Russian] campaign has not bypassed our diplomats either, they often have to work in extreme conditions, sometimes at risk to health and life, but even in the darkest years of the Cold War, we don’t remember such a massive simultaneous expulsion of diplomats,” the foreign minister said, adding that such actions are completely destroying the general atmosphere of Russia’s relations with the West.
Moscow has been hit by multiple waves of Western sanctions since the conflict with Ukraine broke out in late February. Russia attacked its neighboring state following Ukraine’s failure to implement the terms of the Minsk agreements, first signed in 2014, and Moscow’s eventual recognition of the Donbass republics of Donetsk and Lugansk. The German- and French-brokered protocols were designed to give the breakaway regions special status within the Ukrainian state.
The Kremlin has since demanded that Ukraine officially declare itself a neutral country that will never join the US-led NATO military bloc. Kiev insists the Russian offensive was completely unprovoked and has denied claims it was planning to retake the two republics by force.