Lavrov claims American diplomats are engaged in espionage
During a large press conference on the results of Russian diplomacy in 2016, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov stated that American intelligence services tried to recruit Russian high-ranking diplomats.
Lavrov said that during U.S. President Barack Obama’s second term, the USA’s efforts to recruit Russian diplomats increased. According to him, American intelligence services tried to make recruitment offers to a high-level Ambassador. "They tried to get him into a car and give him ten thousand dollars,” he stated.
He also stated that US representatives tried to get to Russian facilities. However, he didn’t specify which ones. According to him, American diplomats were also seen at different rallies and protests.
In December 2016, US President Barack Obama signed a decree on new sanctions against Russia. They targeted six individuals and five Russian organizations including the Federal Security Service of Russia. In particular, the sanction list includes the head of the Russian Chief Intelligence Directorate of the General Staff, Igor Korobov, and his three deputies.
The U.S. also sent 35 Russian diplomats from Washington and San-Francisco, ostensibly for Russia’s prosecution campaign regarding American diplomats in Moscow.
Afterwards, Lavrov proposed that Russian President Vladimir Putin send 35 American diplomats from Russia as well, and also that he prohibit representatives of American diplomatic missions from using the summer house in Serebryany Bor and storage on one of the streets in Moscow.
However, President Putin stated that Russia would not expel the diplomats. U.S. President-elect Donald Trump praised him for that decision.