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    US Diplomats Were Not Detained in Severodvinsk - Russian Foreign Ministry

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    MOSCOW (Sputnik) - US diplomats were not detained in Severodvinsk in Russia's northwest, they got into a car and may have already arrived in Moscow, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Thursday.

    Zakharova told at a briefing three US military diplomats requested permission from the Russian Defence Ministry to travel to Arkhangelsk and received it.

    ''But to Arkhangelsk, and not somewhere further and not somewhere to the side'', she said.

    Zakharova said the Americans instead arrived in a rented car with Russian license plates in Severodvinsk, there they got on a commuter train and went to the village near which there is a testing range, as well as other defence facilities.

    ''When US officers arrived there, they were stopped at the station by a police patrol. It was explained to them that they were in the area with regulated visits, and since they did not have special permission to stay there... because they had not asked for it, they were told to take the same train back. They did so. Nobody detained American military diplomats... They got into a car in Severodvinsk and headed towards Moscow... Maybe they already arrived", she said.

    Zakharova said Moscow was surprised by comments of the US State Department and US Embassy on the incident with US diplomats in Severodvinsk, adding that US Embassy employees were constantly trying to get to restricted areas across Russia.

    Moscow said it would send a letter of protest to the US over the incident involving the US diplomats. On 14 October three US diplomats were travelling from Nenoksa to Severodvinsk when they were removed from the train for the absence of papers allowing their presence on the restricted territory. While the US embassy claimed the diplomats had filed their travel destinations with the Russian Defence Ministry, the latter had knowledge only of their trip to Arkhangelsk, the Russian Foreign Ministry confirmed. 

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    diplomats, United States, Russia
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