Russian ambassador to U.S. says mission's work 'blockaded' - RIA

FILE PHOTO - People protest Russia’s war in Ukraine outside of the Russian embassy
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(Reuters) - The working of the Russian embassy in Washington is "blockaded", with its bank accounts closed and staff receiving threats, state news agency RIA cited ambassador Anatoly Antonov as saying on Sunday.

"The embassy is in essence blockaded by U.S. government entities. Accounts of our two consulates in Houston and New York have been closed by Bank of America," Antonov was quoted as saying.

"We receive threats both by phone and letters come... At some point even the exit from the embassy was blocked," he added.

Russia and the United States had been locked in a dispute over the size and functioning of their respective diplomatic missions long before President Vladimir Putin launched what he calls his "special military operation" against Ukraine on Feb. 24.

Since then, Russian embassies in Europe have also come under pressure and more than 300 Russian staff have been expelled from European capitals, prompting Moscow to kick out foreign diplomats in response.

The Russian ambassador to Poland told Reuters last week that the blocking of his embassy's bank accounts last month could eventually prevent it from functioning, in which case Russia would halt the work of the Polish embassy in Moscow.

Western governments have imposed drastic sanctions against Russia over its actions in Ukraine, prompting Moscow to accuse them of frenzied Russophobia.

(Reporting by Reuters)