New Russia-US row after Russian diplomats charged
MOSCOW (AFP) - Russia and the United States were on Friday embroiled in a new diplomatic dispute after Moscow reacted furiously to charges launched in the United States against 49 current and former Russian diplomats and their wives over a US$1.5 million (S$1.9 million) fraud.
Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said in a statement to Russian news agencies that Moscow had many claims against the behaviour of US diplomats in Moscow but had preferred not to bring them into the public sphere.
"We categorically reject the charges against the staff of Russian diplomatic institutions in the United States," he was quoted as saying by the ITAR-TASS news agency, saying it was "illegal" for diplomats to have been watched by the authorities in this way.
"If the American authorities have claims against our citizens... they should have been made first through diplomatic channels. This is no more than cheap PR and an attempt to fulfil an order by Russophobes in the US," he added.