TEMPO.CO, Jakarta – Russia He expelled two diplomats United States of America To cooperate with a Russian citizen accused of being a foreign spy. The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has summoned US Ambassador Lynne Tracy and told the Embassy’s First Minister, Jeffrey Silin, and Second Minister, David Bernstein, to leave Russia within seven days.
“The people whose names were given did Illegal activityHe was accused of ‘secret cooperation’ with a foreign country, maintaining relations with the Russian citizen R. Shonov,” said the Russian statement, Thursday, September 14, 2023.
The United States Department of State said the expulsion of the two diplomats was inappropriate and warned that Washington would respond accordingly.
In a statement to reporters, US State Department spokesman Matthew Miller said: “This unjustified firing of our diplomatic staff is completely inappropriate, as was the case against our former embassy contractor in Russia.”
“Once again, Russia has chosen conflict and escalation over constructive diplomatic relations. As Russia continues to threaten its own citizens, it continues to harass our embassy staff. We regret that Russia has taken this path and you can expect us to do the same by responding appropriately to their actions.”
Robert Shonov worked for more than 25 years at the US Consulate General in the eastern Russian city of Vladivostok, Russia.
Russia’s FSB The security service released a video of Shonov’s confession in August, saying Silin and Bernstein asked him to gather information about Russia’s war in Ukraine, the annexation of “new states,” military mobilization and the 2024 presidential election.
In the video, Shonov said that he was asked to collect “negative” information on these topics, to look for signs of public protest and to reflect this in his reports.
Washington says Moscow is trying to intimidate and harass American workers, and the FSB plans to question embassy staff who had ties to Shonov after Russian state media reported allegations against him.
When he was arrested in May, the US State Department said the case highlighted Russia’s “increasingly repressive use of its laws” against its citizens. He said the charges against Shonov are completely baseless.
According to a statement released by the Russian Foreign Ministry, Shonov was paid to complete operations aimed at undermining Russia’s national security.
“Furthermore, (Tracy) emphasized that illegal activities by US diplomatic missions, including interference in the internal affairs of host countries, are unacceptable and will be dealt with severely,” he said.
“The Russian side expects Washington to make the right conclusions and refrain from conflicting actions.”
Relations between Moscow and Washington have fallen to their worst level in more than 60 years because of the war in Ukraine. The US provides advanced weapons to Ukraine and imposes sanctions on Russia in response to its February 2022 invasion of Ukraine.
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