MOSCOW, October 16. /TASS/. US military diplomats regularly try to get into Russia’s restricted access territories in violation of the existing rules, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told a news briefing on Thursday.
"The existence of zones closed to foreigners and the public at large is normal and commonplace. Each country, including the United States, has its own corresponding rules," she said. "US military diplomats regularly try to enter restricted areas in various parts of our vast country and in doing so they utterly neglect the notification rules."
"It’s not about double standards, it’s petty fraud. They [the US embassy — TASS] ostensibly express concern that their military diplomats were not allowed to go somewhere, but do not tell the whole truth. It begins to look annoying and unpleasant," Zakharova said, adding that "US diplomats carrying cameras are in the habit of hanging around Russian military facilities."
As Zakharova explained, Moscow and Washington had long established on a mutual basis certain rules of notification of diplomats’ long trips.
"These rules have been effective since the Cold War, at Washington’s request, I would like to point out," she added.
As Zakharova stated earlier, a police patrol in Severodvinsk on October 14 stopped three staffers of the office of the military attache at the US embassy in Russia on the suspicion of committing an administrative offense described in Item 1.1 of Article 18.8 of the Code of Administrative Offenses ("violation of the rules of entry or presence in the Russian territory committed by a foreign national or stateless person"). Severodvinsk is a city that can be visited by foreign nationals on the condition of special permission.
A US Department of State official and the US embassy in Moscow claimed after the incident that the diplomats had properly notified the Russian authorities, including the Defense Ministry, of their business trip. In reality the diplomats officially declared a different destination, Arkhangelsk, the Russian Foreign Ministry said.