Moscow will issue a formal note of protest to Washington after three military attaches of the U.S. Embassy were caught near a restricted nuclear testing site on Monday, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Yevgeny Ivanov said Thursday.
"The note will be filed today... Some administrative protocols will be prepared. I think a further investigation will be conducted," Ivanov was quoted by RIA Novosti news agency as saying.
On the same day, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told a news briefing that the three U.S. diplomats were removed from a commuter train in northwestern Russia at a station close to the testing site, where a deadly explosion took place in August.
She said the diplomats requested and obtained a Defense Ministry permit to visit the city of Arkhangelsk, but they rented a car and went to another town, from which they took the commuter train, but were stopped and asked to get back on the same train.
Zakharova said that the reason for removing the diplomats was the absence of valid permits for admission to the zone, which is included in the list of territories with regulated visits for foreigners.
According to the U.S. Embassy in Moscow, the diplomats were on a business trip and the notice of the trip was "appropriately" submitted to the Defense Ministry.
On Aug. 8, an explosion occurred on an offshore platform near the testing site located in the Arkhangelsk Oblast, killing five people.