Anatoly Antonov, Russia’s ambassador in Washington DC, who alleged last month that Moscow’s diplomats in the United States were being ‘blocked’ by American authorities, has now claimed that Russian officials are being ‘threatened’ with violence, adding that US intelligence agents are trying to ‘establish contact’ with the embassy staff.
“It’s like a besieged fortress. Basically, our embassy is operating in a hostile environment. The embassy employees are receiving threats, including those of physical violence,” news agency Tass quoted Antonov as saying,
Though the ambassador did not reveal who was ‘threatening’ the staff, he further said, “Agents from the US security services are hanging around outside our building, handing out phone numbers belonging to the CIA and FBI, which can be called to establish contact.”
The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and the State Department are yet to respond to Antonov’s allegations.
Amid the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine, which began on February 24, Russia and the United States have been engaged in a diplomatic tussle of their own, not least due to the invasion itself. The two countries have expelled each other’s diplomats; the US has also been at the forefront of calling for cessation of the Ukraine war, and slapped sanctions against Moscow for attacking the east European nation.
In response, Russia imposed travel ban on top American officials, including President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris.
Last Monday, Russia’s envoy in Poland was attacked with red paint in the latter’s capital city, Warsaw, by protesters opposing the Ukraine war.
(With agency inputs)