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MOSCOW, May 11. /TASS/. TASS photographer Alexandr Scherbak, who covered the meeting between Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and US President Donald Trump as a member of the minister’s press pool, has wrote a Facebook post urging US journalists to preserve their dignity. Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova reposted it on her Facebook.
"I am urging US journalists not to lose their professional dignity and not to pin the blame on other people for their failure in organizing the photoshoot and the failure to provide access to their media," the photographer wrote. "I have worked as a professional photo correspondent for many years and I am facing such absurd and ludicrous charges for the first time."
Scherbak pointed out that "under the terms of the collaborative work between the Russian Foreign Ministry and TASS news agency I provide some of my photo materials for free publications on the Foreign Ministry’s official page and to other sources."
"Some photographs are distributed by TASS as with any other news agency," he added.
The TASS photographer went on saying that he "covered almost all the meetings that took place in the US, France, Germany, Switzerland and many other countries." "Those were open and closed meetings, summits and forums, and many other events. The lists of journalists who cover trips are always submitted beforehand. And everyone knows who works where, who represents whom, and so on," Scherbak noted.
He said that "there was nothing unusual about the photoshoot with Trump and Lavrov."
Deadly serious Q: Was it a good idea to let a Russian gov photographer & all their equipment into the Oval Office? https://t.co/6WA4NxHxID— Colin Kahl (@ColinKahl) 10 May 2017
"After the meeting with Tillerson I was taken by a US representative to the White House. I was scanned, patted down, and then sniffed by canines," he wrote.
On Russian photographer in the Oval Officer yesterday taking Trump/Lavrov pix, @SHSanders45 said "proper protocol was followed."— Mark Knoller (@markknoller) 11 May 2017
"I took only two cameras to the photoshoot, I left all my stuff, including my cellphone, in another room as I was told to do," the photographer added.
US photographers barred from Lavrov meeting. Russian govt brings cameras and a whole kit bag of electronic equipment. Into the Oval. https://t.co/GDJg0hMKao— Barton Gellman (@bartongellman) 11 May 2017
"The photoshoot was usual, with the delegations exchanging handshakes, a verbal exchange, and then the meeting began. We worked for just a minute and that’s all," Scherbak wrote.
A number of US news outlets became outraged by the fact that the photos taken during the White House meeting between Lavrov and Trump had been distributed by Russia.
The photos were taken by TASS photographer Alexandr Scherbak who attended the meeting as the official photographer for the Russian delegation.
Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova earlier described the hysteria in the US media as an "intellectual agony."
She pointed out that US photographers had also been present at the meeting while the photos were available for free on the Russian Foreign Ministry’s website so that both Russian and foreign media could have access to them.