Russian embassy ‘under blockade’ in US – envoy
The operation of the Russian Embassy in Washington has been effectively blocked by the US, Ambassador Anatoly Antonov has said.
“The embassy is essentially under a blockade by the US authorities. Bank of America has shut down the accounts of our general consulates in Houston and New York,” Antonov told TV channel Rossiya-1 on Sunday.
The diplomat added that the personnel have been receiving threats by phone and mail. “For some time, even the exit from the embassy was being blocked [due] to rather large protests. There were acts of vandalism, paint was thrown [on the building].”
Attacks on Russian missions abroad increased after Moscow launched its military campaign against Ukraine in late February. Vehicles were rammed into the gates of Russian embassies in Dublin, Ireland and Bucharest, Romania. Activists defaced mission buildings with paint in countries such as Austria and Latvia.
Many countries imposed sweeping sanctions on Russia, and several Western states expelled Russian diplomats, to which Moscow responded in kind.
Russia attacked the neighboring state in late February, 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.