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Russia Summons U.S. Ambassador Over 'Meddling' in Domestic Affairs

U.S. Ambassador to Russia Lynne Tracy. Dmitry Serebryakov / AP / TASS

Moscow summoned the U.S. Ambassador to Russia on Thursday and threatened to expel American diplomats in protest against what it said was American interference in the country's domestic affairs.

Russia's Foreign Ministry said Washington was funding "anti-Russian" non-profit groups and "spreading disinformation" about the March 15-17 presidential election, as well as Moscow's so-called "special military operation" in Ukraine.

"Attempts to meddle in the domestic affairs of the Russian Federation, including through subversive actions and the spreading of disinformation in the context of elections and the special military operation will be firmly and decisively suppressed," the ministry said in a statement.

It warned that retaliatory measures could include expelling "U.S. embassy officials involved in such actions."

Both Russia and the United States have expelled dozens of each other's diplomats in recent years as relations between the two countries have sunk to an all-time low, especially after Moscow's full-scale invasion of Ukraine. 

Russia's Foreign Ministry said Thursday that it had told U.S. Ambassador to Russia Lynne Tracy that Washington must stop funding three non-profit education groups that were advancing "attitudes and values alien to Russian society."

It named the groups as the American Councils for International Education, Cultural Vistas and the Institute of International Education.

Moscow views Western-backed NGOs and civil society groups with hostility, regularly accusing them of training would-be revolutionaries — claims rejected by the West and the groups themselves.

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