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Russia bans US diplomats from observing at all upcoming elections

Source: RIA Novosti

Russia’s Foreign Ministry has sent a note to the United States Embassy in Moscow, in which it was made clear that the presence of American diplomats at all upcoming elections would be “undesirable”, said Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov on Tuesday.

The ban, said Ryabkov, arose as a reprisal – to reciprocate Washington’s own decision.

“At work here is the principle of reciprocity without which there can be no normal diplomatic relations.”

Earlier, Russia’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova recalled that the United States Department of State had recommended that Russian diplomats not appear at polling stations during presidential elections.

She also spoke of the case when Houston FBI agents warned a Russian consulate employee that he would not be admitted to observe American elections.

State Department spokesman Mark Toner, in turn, said that Russia could observe the elections as part of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe but Moscow declined the offer.

“We do not expect to see representatives of United States diplomatic missions at any upcoming elections in Russia, regardless of their level and nature. We believe that their presence in any capacity at sites in Russia, unless it is associated with international observation missions, would be undesirable," said a senior diplomat.

The United States 2016 presidential election starts on the morning of November 8, 2016.

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