"The Russian side did everything to minimize the delay, which was caused by incorrectly issued documents for foreign doctors who arrived by a charter flight – the carrier mistakenly designated them as part of the crew. It took 20 minutes to correct the documents. But this did not delay the boarding: it began 40 minutes before takeoff," she explained, noting that the plane had eventually taken off five minutes before the time set by the air carrier.
So, Zakharova went on, the claims about the alleged flight delay had been disproved by Russian diplomats in response to the newspaper well in advance. The latter, however, "deliberately concealed" this information from its audience.
"The plane did take off five minutes earlier than the time set by the airline and endorsed by relevant services in-flight documents, which in principle makes the whole story about the intentional delay of the flight meaningless! This is a fake: to have the facts and not publish them as well as distort the materials of the original source," she summed up.
According to the official, the NYT material is a "scandal" and "forgery in its pure form."
The US newspaper published the article on Saturday, describing the August incident around the alleged groundless delay of the medical evacuation of the US diplomat to Germany, as the "latest episode of a long-running campaign of harassment against American diplomats in Russia."
The Russian diplomat, however, disproved the allegations, saying that the Foreign Ministry sent a letter with the account of the August events in response to the newspaper’s request back on October 11, i.e. two weeks before the publication.
The latter said that "five and a half hours before the originally scheduled time of takeoff, it was the air carrier that delayed the departure by an hour," according to Zakharova.