Russia slams US after Russian journalists denied visas for UN visit

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Moscow: Russia “will not forgive” the United States for denying US visas to Russian journalists meant to accompany him on a visit to UN headquarters, said the country’s foreign minister Sergei Lavrov on Sunday.

“We won’t forget, we will not forgive this” said Lavrov. He is expected to chair several UN Security Council meetings in New York.

In April, Russia took up the presidency of the UN Security Council despite the Ukraine offensive, which Kyiv said was “a slap in the face”.

Lavrov denounced a “stupid” failure of the United States to give visas to Russian journalists. “A country that calls itself the strongest, smartest, freest and fairest, chickened out,” Lavrov said, adding that this “showed the worth of their solemn assurances on freedom of speech.”

Since the beginning of the offensive, Moscow has strongly tightened conditions to obtain the accreditations needed to get journalist visas in Russia.

Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov warned of more retaliatory steps.

“We will find formats to respond to this so that the Americans remember for a long time that such things must not be done,” Ryabkov was cited as saying by state-run news agencies.

RIA Novosti also cited a diplomatic source saying that, following the incident, “American journalists will experience all the discomfort and inconvenience.”

Last month US journalist Evan Gershkovich was arrested in Russia on claims of espionage.

The US journalist, his publication and officials strongly denied the allegations.

Gershkovich, who has also worked for AFP, is the first foreign journalist arrested on spying allegations since the collapse of the Soviet Union.

(With inputs from AFP)

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