Moscow urges US to stop ‘hunting down’ Russians in third countries: Envoy

Russian Ambassador to the US Anatoly Antonov has called on Washington to stop hunting down Russian nationals in third countries, stressing that Moscow considers the speedy repatriation of all its citizens detained in American prisons its priority.

Antonov made the remarks in a statement posted on Telegram on Wednesday, amid US and Russia’s efforts to work together on exchange of prisoners despite strained ties over the ongoing war in Ukraine.

“Russia has always opposed Washington’s ‘hunt’ for Russians in third countries. It demands that such practice stop. However, the [US] Administration continues to live in a world of its own, built on their own rules while ignoring interests of other states. We will never agree with such an approach,” he said.

The Russian diplomat went on to say that the prompt repatriation of all Russian citizens imprisoned in the United States is Moscow’s “absolute priority.”

“This is why we consider speculations on this issue unacceptable … We fight for these people to get back to their homeland, their families as soon as possible,” Antonov said.

He further urged American politicians and mass media to let corresponding agencies of both countries work calmly and to stop playing with people’s fates and allow professionals to seek necessary resolutions.

He also noted that the issue of exchange of prisoners is being resolved via tasked agencies, as it was defined by presidents of both countries in 2021, adding that the special channel on exchange of prisoners between Moscow and Washington has already proven its efficiency.

This comes as earlier in the day US Secretary of State Antony Blinken had a phone call with Paul Whelan, who is detained in Russia for espionage.

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