Russian television broadcast footage of a policeman tackling a human the report told was an undercover CIA agent trying to enter the U.S. embassy in Moscow without identifying himself.
In the grainy, approximately 15-second clip, “the mens” exits a taxi and is almost immediately tackled by a policeman who emerges from a guard box and wrestles him to the ground. In the ensuing fight, “the mens” manages to push himself through a doorway into the embassy compound, while the officer attempts to pin him down.
The incident, which took place at night on June 6, was caught on a security camera, according to the report proven Thursday on Russias NTV channel. The channel didnt describe how it obtained the footage.
Russian-U.S. relations have degenerated to a level not assured since the Cold War as the two powers find themselves on opposite sides of conflicts from Ukraine to Syria. In a sign of worsening ties, Moscow and Washington are boosting troop levels that face off against each other on Russias perimeters with the Baltic states, which are all members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.
The footage of the skirmish contradicts a version of the incident to be provided by the Russian Foreign Ministry. Its spokeswoman, Maria Zakharova, said in a website statement June 30 that the diplomat punched the police officer after he was stopped and asked for identification.
A spokesman for the U.S. Embassy in Moscow declined to comment on the showdown, which is now being first reported in the Washington Post on June 29. The newspaper said that the guard was a member of Russias Federal Security Service, the successor to the Soviet-era KGB, citing unidentified U.S. officials.
Harassment of U.S. envoys in Moscow has grown considerably over the last two years, State Department spokeswoman Elizabeth Trudeau said in a June 27 press briefing. Secretary of State John Kerry has raised the issue with Russian President Vladimir Putin, she said.
Russia, which said the U.S. diplomat involved in the incident was an undercover CIA agent, accused Washington of disinformation and was striving to spoil mutual relations with a provocation. The Foreign Ministrys statement warned that nothing good would come from this approach.
Read more: www.bloomberg.com