Russia warns U.S. ambassador it will expel diplomats who meddle in its internal affairs

MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russia’s Foreign Ministry said on Thursday it had summoned Lynne Tracy, the U.S. ambassador to Moscow, warning her that it would expel U.S. diplomats it believes are interfering in its internal affairs.

Moscow issued the warning ahead of the presidential elections from March 15 to 17 President Vladimir PutinRussia, Russia’s main leader for more than two decades, will certainly win, barring an unexpected development.

The Foreign Ministry said in a statement that it would be on the lookout for what it called “subversive actions and the dissemination of information” related to the elections and what the Kremlin calls its special military operation in Ukraine.

It said such behavior would be “firmly and decisively suppressed, up to and including the expulsion as ‘persona non grata’ of U.S. Embassy personnel involved in such actions.”

A spokesperson for the US embassy said they had no immediate comment.

The State Department also demanded that the U.S. Embassy stop supporting three U.S. nonprofits that it said were running “anti-Russian programs” in the country aimed at “recruiting ‘agents of influence’ among the guise of educational and cultural exchanges.

(Reporting by Reuters; Writing by Lucy Papachristou; Editing by Andrew Osborn)

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