(MOSCOW) — Russia’s Foreign Ministry declined on Tuesday to confirm or deny reported plans by U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to visit Moscow, expressing its surprise at the “regular leak” of information from Washington.
Sources told Reuters on Monday Tillerson planned to skip his first meeting of the 28 NATO allies in April in order to stay home for a visit by China’s president and then go to Russia.
Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said in response to media requests for confirmation of Tillerson‘s Moscow visit that the ministry was “not prepared to confirm or deny this information”.
“But we are certainly surprised by the regular leak of sensitive information from Washington,” she said in a post on Facebook.
“It’s time for U.S. political elites to figure out if ‘Russian hackers’ have once again got into State Department servers or if the threat to U.S. cyber security has an American origin after all,” Zakharova said.
Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said later he was unaware of plans by Tillerson to visit Moscow.
Skipping the NATO meeting and visiting Moscow could risk feeding a perception that Trump’s administration may be prioritising U.S. dealings with big powers over smaller nations that depend on Washington for security.
Tillerson worked with Russia’s government for years in his former role as a top executive at Exxon Mobil Corp. He has questioned the wisdom of sanctions against Russia that he said could harm U.S. businesses.
- How to Help Victims of the Texas School Shooting
- TIME's 100 Most Influential People of 2022
- What the Buffalo Tragedy Has to Do With the Effort to Overturn Roe
- Column: The U.S. Failed Miserably on COVID-19. Canada Shows It Didn't Have to Be That Way
- N.Y. Will Soon Require Businesses to Post Salaries in Job Listings. Here's What Happened When Colorado Did It
- The 46 Most Anticipated Movies of Summer 2022
- ‘We Are in a Moment of Reckoning.’ Amanda Nguyen on Taking the Fight for Sexual Violence Survivors to the U.N.