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Russian drives vehicle through US Ambassador’s home security perimeter in Moscow

The exterior of Spaso House, residence of U.S. Ambassador in Moscow, Russian Federation. (U.S. Embassy Moscow photographer Valeriy Yevseyev/Released)
September 18, 2020

On Friday, a Russian national in a vehicle breached the home of U.S. Ambassador to Russia John J. Sullivan’s Moscow home before being stopped by embassy personnel.

Rebecca Ross, the spokesperson at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow tweeted, “At approximately 16:20, a Russian national in a vehicle breached the perimeter at Spaso House, the U.S. Ambassador’s residence in Moscow. He was intercepted by Embassy personnel and turned over to local authorities. Amb Sullivan was not home at the time, and no one was injured.”

The incident occurred at around 4:20 p.m. in Moscow on Friday afternoon.

The Russian news outlet TASS also reported on security the incident, citing Ross’ tweet.

It was not immediately clear why the man tried to breach the Spaso House perimeter. U.S. diplomatic compounds in Russia have seen security breaches in the past.

In a second tweet two hours after the first, Ross said, “The Russian national who breached the perimeter at Spaso House today is in the custody of local authorities, and an investigation is underway. The U.S. Embassy appreciates all expressions of concern. We refer you to the investigating authorities for any further information.”

In January of 2017 a Russian woman hired at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow where she worked for over 10 years, came under scrutiny for reportedly having regular, unauthorized meetings with Russia’s main security agency FSB. She was reportedly caught and fired in the summer of that year and was suspected of being a Russian spy.

Sullivan has served as the U.S. Ambassador to Russia since he was confirmed in December of 2019. Prior to his ambassadorship, Sullivan served as the Deputy Secretary of State from 2017 to 2019.

On Aug. 31, Sullivan visited Trevor Reed, a 29-year-old retired U.S. Marine convicted of assaulting a police officer in Moscow and sentenced to nine years in prison in July. Following his two hour visit with Reed at the Moscow prison facility where the Marine is being held, Sullivan said, “He’s been detained and convicted on evidence that is laughable.”

According to the U.S. Embassy and Consulates website for Russia, the Spaso House has served as the U.S. Ambassador to Russia’s official residence since 1933 after it was the last major power to recognize the Soviet Union as Russia’s legitimate government at the time. The house continued to serve as the U.S. diplomatic residence after the Soviet Union fell and the Russian Federation came into power.