Alwaght- The Russian Embassy in the US has sent on Sunday a note of protest to the State Department after a Russian lawmaker was briefly detained overnight and questioned by FBI agents at a New York airport.
The diplomatic mission said in a statement posted to Facebook that Inga Yumasheva had been detained by an agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation upon arrival at the unspecified airport in New York.
Yumasheva had traveled to the US with a visa to attend the annual Fort Ross Dialogue forum in California on October 6, the embassy said. The legislator is a member of the Committee on International Affairs of the Russian parliament’s lower house (the State Duma) and coordinates relations with US Congress.
“She was asked to go to a separate room and an FBI officer, who introduced himself, started to question her, for an hour...,” the embassy said, citing Russian Ambassador Anatoly Antonov. “Moreover, she was offered to meet with the FBI officer in a different, informal setting and to continue the conversation,” Russian Ambassador to the United States Anatoly Antonov said.
The embassy demanded an explanation from the US State Department.
“Can’t even imagine [what would happen if Russian] security services detained one of the US senators or representatives... took them to a private room, interrogated and then invited them to a nearby restaurant for a cup of coffee,” the embassy said.
The Russian Foreign Ministry also strongly condemned the FBI interrogation as another hostile action against Russia aimed at further souring bilateral relations.
“The decision-makers in Washington need to think where this systematic fomenting of tensions in US-Russian relations could lead. These policies are shortsighted and dangerous,” it added.
Her questioning also prompted a reaction from the State Duma, with the speaker describing it as a “cynical provocation.”
“The actions of the United States of America are yet another example of a violation of its international obligations,” said Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin.
Earlier in September, the US refused to issue visas to 10 members of a Russian delegation traveling to the United Nations General Assembly.
Moscow called the move outrageous and a violation of international commitments.
Relations between Washington and Moscow are strained by a number of issues, including the crises in Ukraine and Syria as well as what the US calls Moscow’s meddling in its domestic politics.