12:07 Nov. 8, 2016
Moscow hints at banning American observers during future Russian election in response to what it calls ‘obstruction' of country's officials in US
Moscow has lashed out against Washington, accusing the White House of ‘pressuring and threatening' Russian diplomats amid the Presidential election in the United States.
The loud accusations were delivered by several officials from Russia's Foreign Ministry.
‘There have been examples of direct pressure from the FBI against the Russian diplomatic institutions in the US. The FBI agents made it clear with undisguised threat that we shouldn't take interest in the election', Russian Foreign Ministry rep Maria Zakharova posted on Facebook.
Zakharova claimed that US law enforcers even had gone as far as blocking a Russian diplomat's car in Houston and telling him that he shouldn't watch and ‘think about the election'.
‘This isn't the only incident like this', Deputy Foreign Ministry Sergei Ryabkov said afterwards, according to Russian media. ‘There are other examples of attempts to intimidate our diplomats'.
Mr. Ryabkov also said the Kremlin reacted to the incidents and filed a formal protest to Washington. He added that the US side ‘shouldn't count' on being present during the future elections in Russia.
Moscow has criticized Washington after several American states declined Russian request to monitor the election several months ago.
Oklahoma, Texas and Louisiana said they received requests from Russian authorities in August. They rejected the requests, with Oklahoma saying foreign delegates ‘were not allowed into polling stations'.
‘While it would be our honor to offer the opportunity to observe our voting process, it is prohibited under state law to allow anyone except election officials and voters in or around the area where the voting takes place,' Oklahoma Secretary of State Chris Benge said, according to the Independent.
US officials explained there wasn't a policy to refuse Russian observers, adding that ‘Russia is welcome to monitor the election'. In late October, the State Department spokesman John Kirby noted that Russia was offered places on a team being fielded by OSCE, but Moscow declined.
‘The fact that they have chosen to not join the OSCE observation mission makes clear that this issue is nothing more than a PR stunt', Kirby was quoted as saying by the Guardian.
The US election are taking place today, November 8.