Secretary of State John Kerry spoke to Russian President Vladimir Putin about alleged harassment from Russian officers towards U.S. diplomats across Europe.

From The Washington Post:

In Moscow, where the harassment is most pervasive, diplomats reported slashed tires and regular harassment by traffic police. Former ambassador Michael McFaul was hounded by government-paid protesters, and intelligence personnel followed his children to school. The harassment is not new; in the first term of the Obama administration, Russian intelligence personnel broke into the house of the U.S. defense attache in Moscow and killed his dog, according to multiple former officials who read the intelligence reports.

U.S. ambassadors from Europe and Russia recently met in Washington where those from Europe recounted the harassment they received:

Some of the intimidation has been routine: following diplomats or their family members, showing up at their social events uninvited or paying reporters to write negative stories about them.

But many of the recent acts of intimidation by Russian security services have crossed the line into apparent criminality. In a series of secret memos sent back to Washington, described to me by several current and former U.S. officials who have written or read them, diplomats reported that Russian intruders had broken into their homes late at night, only to rearrange the furniture or turn on all the lights and televisions, and then leave. One diplomat reported that an intruder had defecated on his living room carpet.

State Department spokeswoman Elizabeth Trudeau confirmed Kerry brought up the issues with Putin on Monday. He last raised the issue on March 24. In January, the government “stripped five of the six Russian honorary consuls of credentials” because of harassment in Moscow.

Of course, Russia claims U.S. diplomats harass their diplomats:

Last week the Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said that Moscow has “felt a significant increase in pressure on the Russian Embassy and consulates general of our country in the United States.”

According to Zakharova, staff members of Russia’s consulate missions abroad “regularly become the objects of provocations by the American secret services, face obstacles in making official contacts and other restrictions,” including travel.

Tensions have risen between Russia and the West since the Kremlin invaded east Ukraine, annexed Crimea, and threatened former Soviet republics in March 2014. It has also led to a major buildup of NATO, with those republics asking for more security.

In October 2014, ABC News reported that the U.S. embassy in Russia noticed more harassment in late 2011 with all the anti-government protests. But the harassment reached its highest levels when Putin became president again in 2012.

Russia’s Foreign Ministry denied everything then as well, claiming the accusations “are below the level of cheap spy detective stories.”

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