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Lavrov warns US against meddling in Russian elections

The Russian diplomat reiterated that Moscow is guided by the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations

DVORIKI VILLAGE /Vladimir region/, August 11. /TASS/. Moscow will not allow Washington’s meddling in the elections held in Russia, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said at a meeting with the participants in the Russian Educational Youth Forum dubbed Terra Scientia on the Klyazma on Friday.

On September 10, Russia will hold a single voting day, with a total of 5,800 regional and municipal elections taking place across the country. The Russian presidential election will be held six months later.

"I am unaware of the US Embassy’s plans, but there were many incidents when American diplomats were involved in illegal activities. Our relevant services should take appropriate measures," Lavrov said.

According to Russia’s top diplomat, many Russian citizens are working at the US Embassy. In accordance with the Vienna Convention, the US Embassy staff hired in Russia can only perform technical work (working as drivers, typists or stenographers) and cannot be involved in "diplomatic activities, including the political aspects."

"However, it was not uncommon for US Embassy’s hired staff members to travel to various regions, conduct opinion polls asking people what they thought about a governor and the federal center. In such situations, we politely ask our American counterparts to terminate these people’s contracts," Lavrov stressed.

"I believe this is in line with the American traditions. They probably do not consider this to be meddling, because they are allowed to do anything, and that’s in their blood. I hope that after all these unsubstantiated accusations against us ]regarding the alleged meddling in the US presidential election - TASS], because they failed to provide hard facts within 10 months, the acuteness of the issue for the American establishment will make them think twice," the Russian foreign minister said.

"However, if this happens, we have our own laws, the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, which says explicitly and specifically what diplomats can do and what they cannot do," Lavrov noted. "We will be guided by it and by our laws."