Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov says US diplomats in Russia have engaged in espionage in the past few years and participated in opposition protests.
Lavrov said at a news conference on Russian diplomacy in 2016 on Tuesday that US Embassy diplomats have been engaged in spying and “have repeatedly been seen taking part in the rallies of opposition, anti-government forces, unauthorized rallies, including times when they wore disguise.”
He also stressed that US intelligence agencies have been actively attempting to recruit senior Russian diplomats over the past several years.
“If we talk about recruitment techniques, we did not publicize the full statistics on that. But most recently, in the past few years, especially during the second term of [US President Barack] Obama’s administration, that unfriendly activity toward our diplomats has been growing in scale,” Lavrov told reporters on Tuesday.
Lavrov said the Russian authorities have managed to thwart several attempts by US spies disguised as diplomats to gather intelligence on Russia. “We’ve curbed the intelligence activities of US officials who were working under diplomatic cover.”
Lavrov also slammed the allegations of Russian cyber attacks against the US as fabricated. American officials, including outgoing President Obama, have accused the Kremlin of carrying out cyber attacks against US political organizations to help Donald Trump win the presidency.
Elsewhere in his remarks, Russia’s top diplomat said representatives from the future US administration and the United Nations (UN) should be invited to the upcoming intra-Syrian peace talks due to be held in the Kazakh capital of Astana later this month.
In this photo, made available on Friday, November 27, 2015, a Russian seaman stands next to a machine gun on the Russian missile cruiser Moskva, near the shore of Syria’s province of Latakia, Syria.—Agencies