Russia accuses Western ambassadors of meddling in internal affairs – Al Jazeera English

Moscow hit out at envoys claiming they refused to meet with foreign minister, as relations continue to deteriorate.
Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has accused Western ambassadors in Moscow of meddling in its internal affairs and questioned their function.
The statement on Tuesday followed complaints from Moscow’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov the previous day that ambassadors from European Union countries had refused to meet him. The rebuke comes with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine having pushed relations with the West to their lowest ebb in decades.
Lavrov said on March 4 that he had invited EU envoys for a conversation ahead of Russia’s March 15-17 presidential election but that they had refused. There was no immediate reaction from Western diplomats.
However, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova revived the subject on Tuesday on Russian state television.
“The question indeed arises among everyone: what are they doing, and why, how do they interpret their conduct on the territory of our country if they do not perform their most important function?” Zakharova declared to anchor Vladimir Solovyov.
Solovyov noted that EU ambassadors attended the March 1 funeral of opposition politician Alexei Navalny, whom he labelled their agent.
Navalny, whose death at an Arctic prison colony was announced on February 16, always denied he was a Western agent.

Zakharova said such behaviour showed Western ambassadors in Moscow were meddling in Russia’s affairs and putting on “performances” rather than doing their diplomatic work.
The banner headline on Solovyov’s television show read: “Should the EU ambassadors be sent out?”
The West is grappling with what support it will give to Kyiv after Russian forces regained the initiative on the battlefield after a failed Ukrainian counteroffensive last year.
Diplomatic relations between Russia and the West continue to deteriorate as the war grinds on.
Last week, President Vladimir Putin reiterated his claim that Russia is fighting defensively against a Western proxy war that risks provoking nuclear conflict.
Even at a petty level, agreement is scarce.
Russian media last week published an audio recording of a meeting of senior German military officials discussing sending missiles to Ukraine. Reports said on Monday that Moscow had summoned Germany’s envoy over the issue, but Berlin said the meeting had long been scheduled.
Ambassador Alexander Graf Lambsdorff was also scolded over attempts by Berlin to restrict the activities of Russian journalists in Germany, Zakharova claimed on Tuesday.
“If they touch Russian correspondents and bring their plans to conclusion, German journalists will leave Russia,” she asserted.

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