Russian TV Shows Pindo Diplomat Decked by Embassy Policeman
Jake Rudnitsky, Bloomberg, Jul 7 2016
Russian television broadcast footage of a policeman tackling a man the report said was an undercover CIA agent trying to enter the Pindo embassy in Moscow without identifying himself. In the grainy, approximately 15-second clip, the man exits a taxi and is almost immediately tackled by a policeman who emerges from a guard box and wrestles him to the ground. In the ensuing struggle, the man manages to push himself through a door into the embassy compound, while the officer attempts to pin him down. The incident, which took place at night on June 6, was caught on a security camera, according to the report shown Thursday on Russia’s NTV channel. The channel didn’t describe how it obtained the footage. Pindo-Russian relations have deteriorated to a level not seen since the Cold War as the two powers find themselves on opposite sides of conflicts from Ukraine to Syria. The footage of the skirmish contradicts a version of the incident given by the Russian Foreign Ministry, whose spox Maria Zakharova, said in a website statement Jun 30 that the diplomat punched the police officer after he was stopped and asked for identification. A spokesman for the Pindo Embassy in Moscow declined to comment on the confrontation, which was first reported in the WaPo on Jun 29. The newspaper said that the guard was a member of the FSB. Harassment of Pindo diplomats in Moscow has increased significantly over the last two years, State Dept spox Elizabeth Trudeau said in a Jun 27 press briefing. Jackass Kerry has raised the issue with Putin, she said. Russia, which said the Pindo diplomat involved in the incident was an undercover CIA agent, accused Washington of “disinformation” and seeking to spoil mutual relations with a “provocation.” The Foreign Ministry’s statement warned that “nothing good” would come from this approach.