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National flags of Russia and the U.S. fly at Vnukovo International Airport in Moscow, Russia April 11, 2017. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov(reuters_tickers)
MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia's foreign ministry on Thursday accused U.S. officials of leaking to the media confidential financial details of Russian diplomats working in the United States, and demanded that those responsible be punished.
U.S. media outlet Buzzfeed reported this week that U.S. officials investigating allegations of Kremlin interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election were studying records of financial transactions involving Russian diplomats. Buzzfeed cited details of several bank transfers.
"It's obvious that this could not have happened without the knowledge of the authorities of that country (the United States)," the Russian foreign ministry said in a statement.
"In other words, this intrusion on the sanctity of the accounts of the embassy and its staff, who have diplomatic immunity, is the work of Washington officialdom."
The statement said that the transactions that were leaked contained nothing except routine payments, but that these were being twisted to make them appear suspicious.
"Once again we have to note that Washington is not ensuring the appropriate conditions for the functioning of Russia's diplomatic missions. The pressure on them continues and is growing," said the ministry.
"We demand that the American authorities, at last, start implementing their own national laws and international obligations, immediately stop the unlawful distribution of confidential information .... and hold responsible those who are to blame, including those who hold relevant posts in the American state administration."
(Reporting by Christian Lowe; Editing by Ralph Boulton)