Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Maria Zakharova answers question from Rossiya Segodnya on the US stripping Russian honorary consuls of their accreditation
Question: Could you comment on the reports that Russian honorary consuls in the United States have been stripped of their accreditation?
Maria Zakharova: We’ve been outraged by Washington’s decision to strip five Russian honorary consuls in the United States – in California, Utah, Minnesota, Florida and Puerto Rico – of their accreditation. What’s more, they’ve even been threatened with criminal prosecution.
The attempts, in substantiation of such unwarranted moves, to accuse us of escalating tension in bilateral affairs are untenable. It is common knowledge that the United States has launched an aggressive sanctions campaign against Russia and is conducting wide-ranging Russophobic propaganda across the world in a bid to evade responsibility for supporting the armed coup and bloody war in Donbass. US special services are continuing their provocations against Russian diplomatic staff members, and not only in the United States.
With its decision regarding the honorary consults, the Obama administration pursues its line towards scaling down ties with our country. The US authorities have again showed beyond any doubt their real attitude towards the promotion of people-to-people contacts that the consults have in fact been promoting, along with providing assistance to Russians visiting the United States. All of this has proved to be not to Washington’s liking. It may be recalled that back in 2013, it prevented Americans from making friendly trips to Russia through the Federal Agency for the Commonwealth of Independent States, Compatriots Living Abroad, and International Cultural Cooperation (Rossotrudnichestvo), mounting a slanderous campaign in the media and intimidating potential participants with FBI interrogations.
For our part, we express our genuine recognition to the US citizens who have for many years successfully performed the functions of Russian honorary consuls and for their major contribution to the development of all-round cooperation between Russia and the United States. Neither they, nor we are to blame for the fact that this interaction has gone downhill. We hope that sooner or later common sense will prevail in Washington and the honorary consults will be able to resume their valuable and much-needed activities.
January 22, 2016