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Russia Criticizes US Envoy for Accusation

U.S. Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul gestures during his meeting with deputies of the United Russia party at Russia's State Duma, lower house of parliament, in Moscow, May 25, 2012.
Russia has lashed out at U.S. Ambassador Michael McFaul regarding his comments that Russia offered Kyrgyzstan money in a bid to shut down a U.S. airbase in that country.

In a statement Tuesday, Russia's Foreign Ministry said McFaul's comments were bewildering and misrepresented some of Moscow's foreign policy positions.

The ministry said this is not the first time the envoy has made such puzzling remarks.

McFaul responded on the social network blogging site Twitter by saying he is still learning "the craft of speaking more diplomatically."

The U.S. envoy told a group of students last week at a university in Moscow that Russia tried to bribe Kyrgyzstan to close a U.S. military base. The United States uses the base to support operations in Afghanistan.

McFaul took over the Moscow post in January. He was one of U.S. President Barack Obama's top foreign policy aides, playing a key role in the administration's so-called "reset" of ties with Russia. His tenure in Moscow has been challenging, due in part to his lack of actual diplomatic experience.

Russia's criticism of McFaul coincides with President Vladimir Putin's stepped-up anti-U.S. rhetoric during his recent successful election campaign. Putin was elected to a third presidential term in March.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.