Moscow, Russian Federation, Oct 4 – Russia’s foreign ministry on Tuesday blasted what it termed “pressure” on its US-based diplomats by US intelligence, which it accused of increasingly numerous “recruitment attempts” on Moscow’s diplomatic staff.
“The situation surrounding Russian diplomats in the United States is getting worse all the time,” deputy foreign minister Sergei Riabkov said.
He said the number of attempts at recruiting diplomats had “significantly increased” over the past two-and-a-half years.
“The US intelligence services do not shrink from using the most miserable means of pressure, including threats to the health of (diplomats’) family members,” Ryabkov said in a statement.
He also accused Washington of creating “artificial difficulties” and “invented restrictions” on their movements, preventing diplomats being able fully to carry out their duties.
Riabkov also accused Washington of carrying out “intense espionage activities” in Russia under diplomatic cover, saying the US military attache in Moscow was regularly seen in proximity to Russian strategic military sites.
Relations between Washington and Moscow have dived close to Cold War levels notably following the 2014 Russian annexation of Crimea and the conflict in eastern Ukraine while neither country sees eye to eye on how to resolve the war in Syria.