Russia claims ‘US has cut off telephone lines to its New York consulate and disrupted their internet access’

RUSSIA has accused the US of cutting off all telephones lines connected to its New York consulate.

Callers dialling one of two phone lines listed on the consulate website are greeted with a caller error tone – indicating the lines are busy or not in service.

The Consulate General made the claims in a tweet on Tuesday morning.

"Dear visitors! Since January 18 this year the American side has completely disconnected all city telephone lines of the Russian Consulate General in New York, periodically there are interruptions in Internet access," the post read.

Meanwhile, the consulate is still contactable by email while the issue is resolved.

It is not clear when the consulate's telephone services will resume normal service.

According to Sputnik, US authorities cited technical difficulties as the reason for the dead phone lines.

A source at the consulate said that a two-day delay in getting the phone lines back up and working is “unheard of” – and that all phone lines went dead at the same time.

The cut phone lines is the latest sticking point between the US and Russia.

Relations soured when US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo criticised the Russian government for arresting opposition politician Aleksey Navalny upon his return to the country.

“The United States strongly condemns Russia’s decision to arrest Aleksey Navalny," said Pompeo in a statement.

He added: "We note with grave concern that his detention is the latest in a series of attempts to silence Navalny and other opposition figures and independent voices who are critical of Russian authorities.

“We urge the Russian government to provide a level playing field for all political parties and candidates seeking to compete in the electoral process. Aleksey Navalny is not the problem.

"We demand his immediate and unconditional release,” the statement said. 

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