Russia summons US ambassador over ‘election interference’

Foreign ministry says John Sullivan presented with ‘undeniable proof’ of US-based tech giants violating Russian laws ahead of elections this month.

The Russian foreign ministry said US ambassador John Sullivan (seen in photo) on Friday held a meeting with deputy foreign minister Sergei Ryabkov [File: Evgenia Novozhenina/Reuters]

Russia’s foreign ministry says it has summoned the United States ambassador to the country over alleged election interference ahead of parliamentary polls later this month.

The Russian government has “undeniable proof” that tech giants, based in the US, violated Russian laws ahead of the coming election to the lower house State Duma, the foreign ministry said in a statement on Friday. It did not specify what companies and violations it referred to.

The ministry said ambassador John Sullivan held a meeting with Sergei Ryabkov, Russia’s deputy foreign minister.

“In this regard it was stated that interference in the internal affairs of our country was absolutely unacceptable,” the statement said.

Russia has recently ramped up control of its segment of the internet and has been taking legal action against foreign tech companies for not deleting content banned by authorities.

There was no immediate comment by the US embassy in Russia and the State Department.

Earlier in September, Russia said it may treat as election meddling refusals by Apple and Google to remove Kremlin critic Alexey Navalny’s app from their online stores.

Navalny and his allies promote a tactical voting plan, which requires followers to support candidates who are judged to have the best chance of defeating the ruling United Russia party in local election campaigns.

Amid rising tensions, Russia formally designated the US an “unfriendly” state, barring its embassy from employing Russian nationals.

Source: News Agencies