MOSCOW (Reuters) – The Russian embassy in the United States has sent a note of protest to the U.S. State Department over FBI questioning of a Russian lawmaker in a New York airport overnight.
Russian deputy Inga Yumasheva was questioned for an hour by the FBI upon arrival in New York, the Russian embassy said in a statement posted here on its Facebook page. It did not specify which airport she arrived at.
“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,” said the ambassador.
U.S.-Russia ties are strained by a number of issues from Syria to Ukraine as well as allegations of Russian interference in U.S. politics, which Moscow denies.
In September, Washington refused to issue visas to 10 members of a Russian delegation traveling to the United Nations General Assembly. Moscow called the U.S. move outrageous and a violation of international commitments..
Yumasheva, who had a visa, had traveled to the United States to attend the Fort Ross Dialogue forum that takes place in California on Sunday, the embassy said. In the lower house of Russian parliament – known as State Duma – she coordinates relations with the U.S. Congress.
State Duma speaker Vyacheslav Volodin called Yumasheva’s questioning a “cynical provocation”.
“The actions of the United States of America are yet another example of a violation of its international obligations,” the State Duma’s press service said on Sunday.
Reporting by Andrey Kuzmin; Editing by Toby Chopra