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4 Jun, 2024 15:07

Moscow comments on Scott Ritter passport seizure

The US has once again proven that it has become a police state, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said
Moscow comments on Scott Ritter passport seizure

Washington’s refusal to allow former US Marine, UN weapons inspector and RT contributor Scott Ritter to travel to Russia to take part in the St Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF) proves that the US has turned into a police state, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has said.

Ritter was set to travel to the famous city for two panel discussions at the annual SPIEF event. However, he was stopped from boarding a flight by US border officials, who later seized his passport and luggage. When asked to explain their actions, the officers said they were following “the orders of the US State Department,” Ritter recalled, stating that his travel documents have still not been returned to him.

Speaking at a press conference in the Republic of Congo on Tuesday, Sergey Lavrov was asked to comment on the incident.

“This is just another example in addition to many that confirms that the United States, which calls itself the leader of democracy throughout the world, has long become a police state,” Lavrov said.

The minister noted, however, that Moscow cannot take any actions in this situation, given that Ritter is not a Russian citizen and has not applied for a Russian passport. “We cannot do anything from a legal point of view, but our assessment is probably not difficult to guess,” Lavrov said.

Meanwhile, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Tuesday that while the Kremlin is aware of the situation, it wanted to avoid speculation as to the reason why Ritter was denied the right to complete his trip to St Petersburg.

“He is a former intelligence officer, so he may be subject to certain restrictions on traveling abroad,” Peskov suggested, adding that if this is the case it would be “understandable” since similar rules exist in almost all countries with regard to former intelligence officers, particularly when it comes to travel to foreign countries that are considered hostile.

However, Peskov noted that if no such personal restrictions apply to Ritter, then the refusal to let him travel to the SPIEF is a “manifestation of another rabid campaign aimed at preventing US citizens from establishing any sort of contacts with Russia.”

Ritter himself has suggested that the move was a “deliberate ambush” carried out by the US government out of spite and meant to “stick it to the Russians.”

The political commentator and former US Marine had previously served as a senior UN inspector tasked with finding weapons of mass destruction in Saddam Hussein’s Iraq. He has been a staunch critic of Washington since the US invasion of that country in 2003.