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Russia's Foreign Ministry Blasts U.S. Envoy Via Twitter

U.S. Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul has been a target of objections from Moscow since he was tabbed for the December 2011 appointment.
Russia has assailed the U.S. ambassador via Twitter for remarks he made at a May 25 meeting with students, accusing him of breaking diplomatic etiquette and misrepresenting Moscow's foreign policy.

It marked the second time that Russian officials and U.S. Ambassador Michael McFaul have locked horns via the popular social media site.

In a series of at least eight Twitter messages, the ministry's English-language feed targeted Michael McFaul for allegedly suggesting that Russia had offered money to the leader of Kyrgyzstan for removing a U.S. air base from its soil.

See an RFE/RL Storify page of #Twitterfight Russia-U.S.

The ministry also accused McFaul of misrepresenting Russia's stance on such international issues as the Iranian nuclear standoff.

The ministry said it was "utterly shocked at McFaul's remarks during a speech to students at the HSE," and accused him of "a deliberate distortion of a number of aspects of the Russian-U.S. dialogue."

The United States and allies have been using the Manas Air Base near Bishkek as a key transit area for operations in nearby Afghanistan since the post-9/11 invasion of that country to oust Al-Qaeda and its ally, the Taliban.

In its Twitter feed, the Russian Foreign Ministry challenged Washington to "explain [an allegedly] unfulfilled promise" from a decade ago "to close its Kyrgyz base within a year or two."

McFaul responded via Twitter by saying that he is "still learning the craft of speaking more diplomatically."

In March, McFaul questioned in a series of Twitter messages how some Russian media seem to know all his plans and suggested he was being eavesdropped on.

The Foreign Ministry's attack on McFaul follows negative coverage given to him by state-run MEDIA, which suggested his agenda is to support opposition leaders.

"This is not the first time that Mr McFAul's statements and actions have been a cause for concern," the ministry tweeted on May 28.

Based on reporting by AP, RFE/RL, and ITAR-TASS