Secretary of State John Kerry formally complained to Russian President Vladimir Putin, following increased intimidation of American diplomats in Russia (CNN). U.S. Department of State spokeswoman Elizabeth Trudeau said that this issue had first been noted after imposing sanctions on Russia over the Ukraine crisis (BBC). Diplomats from other countries stationed in Moscow have reported similar complaints (Reuters). A reporter from the Washington Post said that incidents of harassment include breaking into diplomats’ homes and rearranging furniture (WP). Further, former U.S. ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul said he was regularly followed by Russian security services (BBC). He added that they wanted him to know he was being followed which increased the level of intimidation (BBC).
Trudeau stated that harassment of U.S. diplomats by Russian secret services may be due to U.S. President Barack Obama’s decision in January to strip diplomatic status for five of six Russian honorary consuls (WP). Honorary consuls are U.S. citizens or green card holders who are allowed to perform consular services on behalf of a foreign government (Reuters). Trudeau specified that Obama’s decision was in response to increased harassment of diplomats in Moscow (WP).
Tags: Russia, Diplomacy, United States, Cibra, Transatlantic Security