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New York Times Never Reached Out to Russian Embassy for Comment on Bounties Story, Envoy Says

© Sputnik / Maksim Blinov /  / Go to the mediabankRussian ambassador to the US Anatoly Antonov
Russian ambassador to the US Anatoly Antonov - Sputnik International
WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - The New York Times never reached out to the Russian embassy for comments regarding its unsubstantiated story about allegations that Moscow offered bounties to Taliban-linked militants to assassinate US soldiers in Afghanistan, Russian Ambassador to the United States Anatoly Antonov said on Tuesday.

"The customers of the informational provocation did not even bother to contact the Embassy for clarification," Antonov said. "Of course, we promptly provided a comment, although our diplomatic mission did not receive any requests."

On Friday, the New York Times published an article citing unnamed US intelligence officials who claimed that a Russian military intelligence unit offered bounties to Taliban-linked militants to kill US and coalition soldiers in Afghanistan.

The Russian Embassy refuted the allegations and said its employees have received threats after the story was published.

Antonov said the quality of work of some press members in the United States has come into question given that said journalistic standards and ethics necessitate presenting different points of view and opinions in the stories.

"The authors clearly had political goals. Perhaps in the interests of those who oppose the development of a normal, mutually respectful dialogue between Russia and the United States," he said.

Antonov also said the Russian Embassy will draw conclusions out and make adjustments to its interaction with the print media and TV channels that have distinguished themselves in replicating false news and accusations.

"They used to give us reasons to doubt the impartiality, objectivity and independence of editorial policy," Antonov said. "They refused to distribute not only our refutations, but also opinions on key issues of the international and bilateral agenda. There are media in the United States that have shown restraint. They didn’t peck at the obvious, roughly cobbled together fake. We will continue to work with them."

Antonov pointed out that many US journalists lack information on the joint efforts by Russia and the United States in reaching a political settlement in Afghanistan.

"The diplomats of our countries regularly communicate both, bilaterally and internationally. Afghanistan is one of the areas where work does not stop, but is growing, despite the pandemic," Antonov said.

US President Donald Trump said that neither he nor Vice President Mike Pence received a briefing on the issue - as the article claimed - because the US intelligence community said the allegations were not verified or substantiated. Trump called the article another attempt at a Russia hoax to make Republicans look bad in an election year.

Moreover, White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany said on Monday that the US intelligence community has not reached a consensus of the credibility of the allegations.

Russian officials have denied the allegations in the article as false and characterized them as being part of the internal political infighting in the United States.

Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said on Tuesday that the Russian and US governments have not been in contact regarding the US corporate media allegations.

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