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MOSCOW, January 17. /TASS/. Diplomats working at the US Embassy in Russia engage in ‘normal diplomatic activity’ in the interests of cooperation between the two countries, embassy Spokesperson Maria Olson told TASS commenting on Russian foreign minister’s saying Moscow has prevented some diplomats from the US Embassy from spying activities in Russia.
"We’ve seen the press reports about Minister Lavrov’s allegations. For specifics, I can only refer you back to the Russian MFA," Maria Olson said. "Broadly speaking however, similar to Russian diplomats in the United States, U.S. diplomats and officials meet with a variety of interlocutors in the course of our daily work," the spokesperson went on.
"Similar to Russian diplomats in the United States, our diplomats travel across Russia as part of normal diplomatic activity in order to gain a broader and deeper understanding of the situation in Russia," she added.
"There are ongoing exchanges and interactions between the United States and Russia, between our two governments, and between our two peoples," the spokesperson noted.
A number of US diplomats, working at the embassy in Moscow, have been prevented from conducting intelligence activities in Russia, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said at his annual news conference earlier on Tuesday.
"They claim that during Barack Obama’s presidency, the US diplomats have been subject to harassment, but I believe these claims to be groundless," the Russian top diplomat noted saying that some episodes became public "as the Americans tried to present them as some kind of hunt for the US diplomats, but in fact things are completely different."
"The Russian top diplomat pointed out that the US diplomates had more than once acted in disguise, particularly, men had dressed as women. "This all was recorded," Lavrov stressed.
"The US embassy’s military attache office personnel prefer to rent cars without diplomatic car license plates when travelling around our country. They travel to the Kaliningrad region, the Murmansk and the Voronezh regions. They have been spotted in Chechnya and the city of Novorossiysk, they have traveled far and wide in the regions adjacent to Donbass. Besides, the US diplomats, in particular those in disguise, were seen taking part in our opposition’s rallies," the Russian foreign minister added.