Saturday, April 20, 2024

Russia summons US envoy, threatens to expel diplomats over “meddlesome” remarks

US diplomats working in Russia who would seek to work with certain non-governmental organizations (NGOs) designated by Moscow as undesirable may be expelled from the country, the Russian Foreign Ministry warned US Ambassador Lynne Tracy on Thursday.

The American envoy was summoned by the ministry to notify her about the changed legal status of three organizations that have the backing of the embassy she leads, the statement said. Russia stressed these NGOs are working on “projects of an anti-Russian nature, which are aimed at recruiting ‘agents of influence’ under the guise of educational and cultural exchanges”.

Ambassador Tracy was issued a formal note, which demanded that Washington’s embassy cut all ties with these outlawed groups. Among other things, its website and social media should remove all mentions of the three.

Moscow will act to prevent “any subversive actions and dissemination of disinformation,” up to and including declaring embassy staff persona non grata, should they violate the Russian law, the statement added.

An organization that is deemed “undesirable” in Russia has many of its rights suspended. It may not establish offices in the country or use its financial system, and can’t publish anything under its name. Individuals and entities are banned from doing any business with such groups in any Russian jurisdiction.

The list of undesirable organizations is kept by the Justice Ministry. The current version on its website has 146 entries and was last updated in mid-February.

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