Support The Moscow Times!

U.S. Blames Fax for Diplomatic Gaffe

WASHINGTON — The United States has apologized to Russia for failing to give it prompt notice that a Russian citizen was in U.S. custody and blamed the error on an official hitting the wrong fax button, the U.S. State Department said.

The notification went to Romania instead of Russia, said U.S. officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

"We pressed the wrong button on the fax machine, to be brutally honest," State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said at a daily briefing late last week, declining to identify which country received the notice. "We have apologized to Russia."

As part of a major drug bust, Liberian authorities took custody of Russian pilot Konstantin Yaroshenko in Liberia on May 28, and he was handed over to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency on May 30.

According to a federal indictment, Yaroshenko flew "thousand-kilogram" shipments of cocaine throughout South America, Africa and Europe. He has been charged with conspiracy to distribute cocaine, which carries a minimum sentence of 10 years in prison and a maximum of life imprisonment.

Under standard diplomatic practice, countries typically provide prompt notification if they are holding a citizen of another nation. Diplomats are expected to have access to the prisoners and be able to communicate freely with them.

According to the Russian Embassy, a bilateral agreement dating to 1964 requires the United States to inform Russia when it is holding a Russian within "the shortest possible time."

… we have a small favor to ask. As you may have heard, The Moscow Times, an independent news source for over 30 years, has been unjustly branded as a "foreign agent" by the Russian government. This blatant attempt to silence our voice is a direct assault on the integrity of journalism and the values we hold dear.

We, the journalists of The Moscow Times, refuse to be silenced. Our commitment to providing accurate and unbiased reporting on Russia remains unshaken. But we need your help to continue our critical mission.

Your support, no matter how small, makes a world of difference. If you can, please support us monthly starting from just $2. It's quick to set up, and you can be confident that you're making a significant impact every month by supporting open, independent journalism. Thank you.

Once
Monthly
Annual
Continue
paiment methods
Not ready to support today?
Remind me later.

Read more