Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov warned Washington on Friday against trying to meddle in next month's Russian regional elections.
"I do not know what plans the U.S. embassy has, but there were many episodes when American diplomats were seen in illegal activities," Lavrov said, the state-owned TASS news agency reported. "The relevant services should take appropriate measures."
Lavrov, who was on a visit to Russia's Vladimir region, said the American embassy employs many Russian citizens. According to the Vienna Convention, he noted, the embassy staff in Russia can only employ technical workers, like drivers, typists, stenographers, and cannot engage in "diplomatic activities, including political aspects."
"But it was not uncommon for U.S. embassy staff to travel to different regions on the spot, conduct public inquiries: how they relate to the governor, in general to the federal center," he said. "In such situations, we politely ask our American colleagues to terminate these people’s contracts."