Russia has issued a warning to all of its citizens travelling abroad saying that U.S. law enforcement agencies are “hunting” for Russians around the world.
Russia’s foreign ministry issued a statement on Friday accusing Washington of kidnapping Russians, using the case of Vladimir Drinkman as an example, who was extradited to the U.S. from the Netherlands earlier in the year.
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“By believing that it is allowed to do all it wants, Washington goes as far as kidnapping our citizens,” the foreign ministry said.
Drinkman has pleaded not guilty to accusations that he conspired with at least four other men to install “sniffers” to comb through computer networks of financial companies, payment processors and retailers around the world.
“The threat of detention or arrest on the warrant of law enforcement bodies and special services of the USA in third countries still persists. It is quite real,” the ministry said in the statement, which was peppered with angry passages.
“The American authorities continue the unacceptable practice of “hunting” for Russians all over the world, ignoring the norms of international laws and twisting other states’ arms.”
Relations between Russia and the West are at their worst since the end of the Cold War almost a quarter of a century ago, largely due to Moscow’s role in the conflict in Ukraine.
Western powers have imposed sanctions over what they say is Russia’s direct support for separatist rebels in eastern Ukraine, accusations Moscow denies. (Reporting by Vladimir Soldatkin; Editing by Catherine Evans).