Russian diplomats in the United States have been threatened by US officials with criminal prosecution if they attempt to monitor upcoming Presidential and Congress elections at polling stations, the Russian Embassy in Washington said in a statement. According to the Russian diplomatic mission, it has not submitted any official request to monitor the elections, due to take place November 8. The facility said it has reached out to several local electoral commissions to “get acquainted” with American electoral procedures, but got a negative response. The diplomats were even threatened with legal action, the Embassy said. “We received mostly negative responses, including threats that our interest and presence at polling stations could be seen as a criminal act.” The US media earlier reported that the States of Texas, Oklahoma and Louisiana have reportedly received election-related inquiries from Moscow. Though not naming the exact parts of the US, the Russian Embassy noted that “some local authorities we approached coordinated their negative decision with the federal government.” During Friday’s press briefing, US State Department spokesman John Kirby said that Moscow is “welcome” to observe the polls as part of the mission by Organization of Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). Moscow has so far denied filing a respective request to the OSCE, citing concerns over the work of the organization.
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