Russian embassy in US in contact with State Department ahead of elections, ambassador says

By Thomson Reuters Mar 10, 2024 | 8:05 PM

(Reuters) – The Russian embassy in Washington is in “close contact” with the U.S. State Department ahead of the presidential election in Russia this week to ensure the security of the diplomatic mission, ambassador Anatoly Antonov said on Monday.

President Vladimir Putin, who launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine two years ago, is set to win a new six-year term in the March 15-17 vote. This would enable him to overtake Josef Stalin and become Russia’s longest-serving leader for more than 200 years.

“In the conditions of constant provocations, the embassy works calmly. We are dealing with issues related to the organization of the upcoming elections in a business-like manner,” Antonov was cited as saying on the embassy’s Telegram messaging channel. “We are in close contact with the secret service of the State Department. We expect that the Americans will fulfil their obligations to ensure the security of the diplomatic mission.”

Antonov did not specify what provocations he was referring to, saying only that the “degree of Russophobic rhetoric” of President Joe Biden’s administration “is off the chart.”

Last week, Russia had summoned the U.S. ambassador in Moscow to warn her it would expel U.S. diplomats it deems to be interfering in its internal affairs through “subversive actions and the spread of information” related to the election.

In late February, Biden called Putin a “crazy SOB” and during his State of the Union address last week the U.S. president said in remarks directed at Putin that he “will not bow down.”

(Reporting by Lidia Kelly in Melbourne. Editing by Gerry Doyle)