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Ministry: FBI exerts pressure on Russian diplomats to keep them away from polling stations

The Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman says the authorities in a number of states have warned of criminal prosecution

MOSCOW, November 7. /TASS/. FBI exerted direct pressure on Russian diplomats to bar them from approaching polling stations at the presidential elections in the United States on November 8, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Monday.

"I cannot understand what is happening to Washington: it sees Moscow’s hand everywhere, ‘Kremlin hackers,’ leaks of classified information, bans for Russian diplomats to approach polling stations," she wrote on her Facebook account. "It has come to open intimidation of the staff of diplomatic missions. Thus, the State Department has recommended Russian representatives not to approach polling stations and the authorities in a number of states have come even further and warned of criminal prosecution. So, it is banned even to see the voting procedure."

"Facts of direct pressure on Russian overseas missions in the United States from FBI have been reported in the recent days. With undisguised menace, FBI officers gave to understand that it’s better to demonstrate no interest in the U.S. elections," she wrote. "Notably, a whole Hollywood-blockbuster-style special operation was staged in Houston, when a car of an employee of our consulate general was blocked on a road. They stopped the car to ‘bring it home’ that it is prohibited not only to watch the voting but even think about it."

According to Zakharova, the Russian embassy in Washington has made a relevant presentation to the State Department. "And here is a question: what a foreign diplomat can see at American polling stations that ‘Mr. Smiths’ have been involved and why the procedure of election monitoring is controlled by FBI," she stressed.