Moscow calls US ‘anti-Rus­sian’ as elec­tion ob­server row es­ca­lates

Kuwait Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

Moscow yes­ter­day es­ca­lated a row over its at­tempts to send ob­servers to the US pres­i­den­tial polls, ac­cus­ing Washington of adopt­ing an “anti-Rus­sian” stance. Moscow has said that it is trying to send its own ob­servers to var­i­ous US states to mon­i­tor the Novem­ber 8 vote, but has been re­fused ac­cred­i­ta­tion so far. Deputy for­eign min­is­ter Sergei Ryabkov ac­cused US of­fi­cials of treat­ing the is­sue of ob­servers in an “ab­so­lutely anti-Rus­sian vein”, speak­ing to RIA Novosti state news agency.

“If we are de­prived of this for po­lit­i­cal rea­sons, we will draw our own con­clu­sions,” he warned. “Our Amer­i­can col­leagues shouldn’t count on us sim­ply for­get­ting this in the fu­ture,” he said, ac­cus­ing them of “un­ac­cept­able state­ments”. State De­part­ment spokesman John Kirby on Fri­day ac­cused Moscow of a “PR stunt” and de­nied any fed­eral pol­icy to refuse Rus­sian ob­servers. He also pointed out that Rus­sia had opted not to join the Or­ga­ni­za­tion for Se­cu­rity and Co­op­er­a­tion in Europe (OSCE) ob­server mis­sion.

The Rus­sian em­bassy in Washington said Fri­day that Moscow had sent sev­eral ap­pli­ca­tions to lo­cal elec­toral com­mis­sions ask­ing to “get ac­quainted” with the polling process. Rus­sia re­ceived “mostly neg­a­tive re­sponses in­clud­ing threats that our in­ter­est and pres­ence at polling sta­tions could be seen as a crim­i­nal act,” it said. It ac­cused some of the states it ap­proached of co­or­di­nat­ing “their neg­a­tive de­ci­sion with the fed­eral govern­ment”.

US pres­i­den­tial can­di­date Don­ald Trump has voiced ad­mi­ra­tion for Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin and backed rap­proche­ment with Moscow, while Hil­lary Clin­ton has said Trump would be Putin’s “pup­pet”. Putin has of­fered what ap­pears to be veiled sup­port for Trump, say­ing the Krem­lin fa­vors those who “pub­licly state that it is nec­es­sary to build a re­la­tion­ship with Rus­sia”. US of­fi­cials this month for­mally ac­cused the Rus­sian govern­ment of di­rect­ing cy­ber at­tacks “in­tended to in­ter­fere with the US elec­tion process” at Amer­i­can po­lit­i­cal or­ga­ni­za­tions.

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