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Russian ambassador claims US asked him to defect

RUSSIA’S ambassador to Washington has claimed that US spooks encouraged him to defect and denounce the Russian invasion of Ukraine. 

Anatoly Antonov told Russian state television on Wednesday that he had refused a request from US authorities to publicly criticise President Vladimir Putin.

“I recently received a letter by mail, with a call to denounce my motherland and condemn the Russian president’s actions,” he said.

“And I was recommended to make an inquiry to the office of US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman if I am ready to accept the proposal.”

Mr Antonov said that staff at the Russian embassy had also been asked to “communicate with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

“When I see US media publications calling upon Russian servicemen and diplomats to betray their homeland, I have no words to describe my rejection of such moves,” he said. 

The diplomat described Moscow’s relations with Washington as at an unprecedented low, with dialogue between the two sides “limited to the discussion of technical issues.”

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