Russia is not prepared to get used to the US ambassador Michael McFaul, a foreign ministry official was quoted as saying Wednesday, accusing the controversial new US envoy of unprofessionalism.
US State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland had said on Tuesday that Russia had to “get used to” McFaul speaking out clearly after Moscow expressed outrage over a speech he gave at an elite university.
“The Americans should not count on the government of a sovereign state to get used to a lack of restraint in language from the head of an embassy mission,” the foreign ministry source told the state RIA Novosti news agency.
McFaul, a former academic, had tried to explain away the controversy by saying he had to learn the nuances of diplomatic talk but this did not appear to impress Moscow.
The source said Moscow was especially impatient with McFaul for “boasting that is only just starting to learn the basics of the profession.”
“It’s understandable that the State Department has rushed to justify his gaffes but it would be better to recommend to Mr McFaul that a lack of professionalism in diplomacy is something dangerous and unacceptable,” it added.
Russian media have reported that McFaul implied to students at the Moscow Higher School of Economics that Russia tried to bribe the former Soviet republic Kyrgyzstan to shut the US military base with a massive loan.
Both the Russian foreign ministry and then McFaul then unleashed a volley of tweets to publicise their positions, in an exchange that has become known as a “Twitter War”.
The US State Department said that the remarks in his speech were “misinterpreted or misunderstood” by the Russian foreign ministry.
[Russia is not prepared to get used to the US ambassador Michael McFaul, pictured in January 2012. AFP Photo/Astrid Riecken]