Russia warns US over fake news on Ukraine

-Accuses US embassy of fake news, threatens expulsions
MOSCOW: Moscow delivers stern message to new US envoy, accuses embassy of meddling in affairs
Russia has demanded that the US embassy in Moscow stop spreading what Moscow regards as fake news regarding its military operation in Ukraine and has threatened to expel US diplomats, the TASS news agency reported on Tuesday.
The warning included a harsh message to Lynne Tracy, the new US ambassador to Moscow, TASS said, citing a senior Russian foreign ministry source who said Tracy had been told she must strictly adhere to Russian law when making any statements about Russia’s armed forces in Ukraine.
US diplomats engaged in what Moscow called “subversive activities” would be expelled, TASS quoted the source as saying.
There was no immediate comment from the US embassy in Moscow. Russia has made “discrediting” its armed forces a crime punishable by up to five years in jail, while a charge of knowingly distributing “false information” about the military carries a maximum sentence of 15 years.
Tracy arrived in Moscow last month. Feb. 24 will mark the first anniversary of President Vladimir Putin’s decision to send tens of thousands of troops into Ukraine in what he calls a “special military operation”. Ukraine and its Western allies accuse Putin of launching an unprovoked colonial-style war of aggression and reject his assertion that the operation is designed to protect Russia’s own security from NATO’s eastern enlargement.
TASS said the official note, which accused the US embassy of interfering in Russia’s internal affairs, had been delivered on Tuesday and had accused US diplomats of making what it called “inappropriate” statements about the Russian leadership.
It did not specify which statements it had in mind.
Tracy was heckled by a crowd of people chanting anti-US slogans late last month as she entered the Russian foreign ministry in Moscow to present her diplomatic credentials. –Agencies