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    Moscow: False Claims of Drugs in Russian Embassy Aim to Smear Diplomats

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    MOSCOW (Sputnik) – The disinformation campaign concerning drugs found in the Russian Embassy in Argentina is aimed at casting a shadow on the diplomatic mission’s work, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said on Monday.

    "The claims which have been circulating over the weekend concerning various aspects of this case are aimed, in my opinion, at distracting [attention] away from the main thing, casting a shadow on the work carried out in this rather complex and unusual affair," Ryabkov said during a session of the Russian upper house’s International Committee.

    One of the former technical employees of the Russian embassy in Buenos Aires left in one of the premises of the embassy’s school some cargo which, as he thought, it might be possible to transport to Russia, the diplomat said, dwelling on the details of the operation in the Russian embassy.

    "Due to vigilance on the part of the ambassador and staff, the relevant checks were carried out, which meant that substances containing drugs were found in these packages. After this, our services engaged in the case. They were in close contact with their Argentine colleagues from the first day," Ryabkov continued.

    After this, the period of the search activities started, the diplomat added.

    READ MORE: Moscow: Reports of Drugs Shipment From Argentina Via Diplomatic Mail 'Not True'

    On Thursday, Argentine Security Minister Patricia Bullrich said that the security forces of Russia and Argentina had thwarted the shipment of 389 kilograms (857 pounds) of cocaine to Moscow. Several people were detained, including an Argentine police officer and a Russian national. Media reports suggested that the drugs were set to be illegally transported via diplomatic mail.

    The so-called controlled delivery, when a decoy is transported to Russia instead of the real cargo, was carried out at the next stage of the operation, Ryabkov continued. As a result of this move, a number of measures leading to the neutralization of those involved in the crime, was carried out.

    According to the diplomat, the channel of such deliveries was blocked due to cooperation between the anti-drug departments of Russia and Argentina.

    The next steps in the operation will involve legal actions against the perpetrators, Ryabkov stated.

    The Russian diplomat noted the increase in mutual trust and skills of practical cooperation between Moscow and Buenos Aires in terms of ensuring national security as a result of the operation.

    Bullrich said that the Russian Embassy in Argentina had notified Argentine security forces in late 2016 that it had found a few bags containing cocaine at one of its premises. In a special operation launched by the two states' security forces, the drugs were replaced with flour, and the bags were equipped with GPS trackers.

    The minister noted that the price of the confiscated drugs could reach 50 million euros ($61.6 million) on the black market.

    On Saturday, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova firmly denied claims that diplomatic mail had been used illegally to transport drugs from Argentina to Russia.

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    drugs, Sergei Ryabkov, Russia, Buenos Aires
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