Russian officials have denied allegations they drugged two U.S. diplomats at a United Nations anti-corruption conference in St. Petersburg. This denial comes as U.S. officials have expressed concerned about the incident, which occurred in November 2015 when two U.S. officials with diplomatic passports reportedly ingested date rape drugs that were slipped into their drinks.
The Guardian reports how investigators tried to gather evidence of the incident from the hotel where the drugging occurred and the hospital where the diplomats were recuperating to no avail. U.S. officials sent Russian officials a formal note of protest to get to the bottom of the matter, but both sides appear to be at an impasse. On Wednesday, Russian officials said they were “outraged” at the allegations and simply believe the U.S. diplomats were drunk. Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov said the U.S. has not been cooperative in trying to resolve the situation:
“Even then, having quickly responded to the relevant information from the U.S. Embassy, we requested that [they] specify the claims, but we received nothing, not even the names of the ‘victims.’ An investigation conducted by the Russian [authorities] showed that during that period of time, no Americans sought assistance from St. Petersburg medical institutions. If they had, contrary to expectations, had a little too much to drink in a hotel bar, then they only would have themselves to blame.”
Relations between Russia and the U.S. continued to be strained with the breakdown of current Syria talks, but disturbing incidents like the one above aren’t new either. In June, a U.S. diplomat was reportedly tackled by Russian guards when entering the embassy in Moscow. And Russian officials allegedly killed the dog of a U.S. defense attache during President Obama’s first term. Finally, a report earlier this year suggested that Russian agents are breaking into U.S. diplomats’ homes and pooping on the carpets.
More recently, U.S. officials have been confident that government-backed Russian hackers were responsible for the Democratic National Committee email hacks, an allegation they have denied to this day.