US complains to Russia over harassment of diplomats

WASHINGTON (AP) — The State Department says U.S. and other western diplomats in Russia have reported a surge in harassment from Russian intelligence services, prompting high-level complaints from Washington to Moscow.

Spokeswoman Elizabeth Trudeau said Monday that the harassment is of such concern that Secretary of State John Kerry has personally raised the matter with Russian President Vladimir Putin as well as with Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. Trudeau said the uptick in harassment began about two years ago, which roughly corresponds to the imposition of western sanctions on Russia over the Ukraine crisis.

She would not discuss specific incidents of the harassment, but The Washington Post reported earlier Monday that it included breaking into the homes of embassy personnel, rearranging furniture and other items, and, in one case, killing a family pet.

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