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Lavrov says US stepped up ‘recruitment activity’ against Russian diplomats

January 17, 11:06 UTC+3

The Russian foreign minister said the US diplomats more than once acted in disguise, particularly, men dressed as women

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© AP Photo/Cliff Owen

MOSCOW, January 17. /TASS/. The United States stepped up its recruitment activity against Russian diplomats during Barack Obama’s second presidential term, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said during his annual news conference.

"As far as recruitment attempts are concerned, this sort of unfriendly activity grew over the past several years, in particular, Barack Obama’s second presidency," Lavrov said.  

"Maria Zakharova [Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman] has already mentioned a case in which an employee of our Consulate-General came to a medical doctor to collect a pre-paid medicine for Yevgeny Primakov. To make a recruitment attempt in such a situation one is to possess peculiar professional insolence, great cynicism and unscrupulousness," Lavrov said.

He recalled that it was not the only case.

"In April 2016 there was an attempt to recruit a minister-counselor," Lavrov said. "And another senior diplomat was the target of an attempt by US secret services to recruit him as an agent. Ten thousand dollars was planted in his car while the diplomat was absent."

"Our accounting office debited the cash, which now works to the benefit of the Russian state," Lavrov said.

"Once, a diplomat wearing a wig and false eyebrows tried to enter the US embassy, when a security officer requested that he should show his documents, the diplomat struck him," the Russian top diplomat said.

He also pointed out that the US diplomats more than once acted in disguise, particularly, men dressed as women. "This all was recorded," Lavrov stressed.

The diplomatic scandal 

The complaints of the US diplomats from the embassy in Moscow about unbearable working conditions have not been confirmed, according to the Russian foreign minister: 

"During Barack Obama’s presidency we have been receiving complaints about unbearable working conditions created for the US embassy. They said that the "air supply" to the ambassador had been shut off as far as his contacts were concerned," Lavrov said.

"We addressed this situation and found out that it was quite the opposite." 

"We have assessed the contacts that the Russian ambassador to the US and the US ambassador to Russia had during the same period of time," the minister noted. "The US ambassador had ten times more meetings with Russia’s parliament members, representatives of various ministries and agencies than the Russian ambassador had in the US."

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