obama and putin
obama and putin
Now playing
02:22
Russia denies drugging US diplomats
Fox News/Twitter
Now playing
01:33
ADL wants Fox News to fire Tucker Carlson over racist comments
CNN
Now playing
02:36
The truth behind Covid-19 vaccines for sale on the dark web
Now playing
04:22
Levi's CEO has message for Mitch McConnell
Now playing
01:54
'You think I'm racist': Former Fox News host storms off camera
Korie Robertson and Willie Robertson of the reality series "Duck Dynasty" attend the Capitol File 58th Presidential Inauguration Reception at Fiola Mare on January 19, 2017 in Washington, DC.
Paul Morigi/Getty Images
Korie Robertson and Willie Robertson of the reality series "Duck Dynasty" attend the Capitol File 58th Presidential Inauguration Reception at Fiola Mare on January 19, 2017 in Washington, DC.
Now playing
01:46
'Duck Dynasty' stars discuss raising biracial son on new show
FOX/"The Masked Singer"
Now playing
01:24
Nick Cannon makes big splash in 'Masked Singer' return
The Drew Barrymore Show/YouTube
Now playing
01:26
'Mom' star speaks out about not having kids in real life
Heinz ketchup packets are shown in New York on Monday, August 22, 2005. H.J. Heinz Co., the world's biggest ketchup maker, said first-quarter profit fell 19 percent on expenses to cut jobs and sell businesses.  (Photo by Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg/Getty Images
Heinz ketchup packets are shown in New York on Monday, August 22, 2005. H.J. Heinz Co., the world's biggest ketchup maker, said first-quarter profit fell 19 percent on expenses to cut jobs and sell businesses. (Photo by Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
Now playing
01:53
Restaurants face a nationwide ketchup packet shortage
Camerota Berman both
CNN
Camerota Berman both
Now playing
02:33
CNN anchor Alisyn Camerota gets surprise tribute from co-anchor
Citigroup Chairman Richard Parsons delivers remarks on the US economy at the New York State Bar Association meetings in New York, January 28, 2009. Troubled US banking giant Citigroup last week named Parsons as its new chairman, the longtime top executive at media giant Time Warner, to steer it through its most challenging period.  AFP PHOTO / Emmanuel Dunand (Photo credit should read EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP via Getty Images)
EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP/AFP via Getty Images
Citigroup Chairman Richard Parsons delivers remarks on the US economy at the New York State Bar Association meetings in New York, January 28, 2009. Troubled US banking giant Citigroup last week named Parsons as its new chairman, the longtime top executive at media giant Time Warner, to steer it through its most challenging period. AFP PHOTO / Emmanuel Dunand (Photo credit should read EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP via Getty Images)
Now playing
02:47
Dick Parsons: Georgia law is a bald-faced attempt to suppress Black vote
Courtesy of Warner Bros. Picture
Now playing
02:54
'Godzilla vs. Kong' is a pandemic box office hit
Now playing
01:30
5 ways to cut your plastic waste
CNN/Getty Images
Now playing
04:40
Stelter: After elevating Gaetz, Fox News barely covering scandal
NASA/Goddard/University of Arizona
Now playing
01:08
See NASA spacecraft successfully land on an asteroid
Now playing
06:51
Alisyn Camerota's kids wish her good luck in new role on CNN

Story highlights

Two officials may have been slipped a date-rape drug, according to a report

The US is declining to comment on the specific incident but raising concerns of Russian harassment

(CNN) —  

A top Russian official strongly denied Wednesday a report that Moscow may have been behind the alleged drugging of two US diplomats in St. Petersburg and suggested instead that the pair may simply have been drunk.

“We are outraged,” Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov said in a statement posted on the Russian Foreign Ministry website, adding the claim may have been the work of the US State Department seeking “revenge” for the collapse of talks between the two counties to address the situation in Syria.

Russia’s denial came after a report two days ago by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty that the diplomats – a man and a woman who were not senior officials – allegedly had their drinks spiked with a date-rape drug while attending a United Nations convention on corruption last November. The report, attributed to anonymous sources, said the State Department quietly protested the incident to Russian officials.

The story also said one of the diplomats had been treated at a “Western medical clinic” - which Russia said was not true.

“A probe conducted by Russia revealed that at the time no Americans had sought treatment at any St. Petersburg medical institutions,” Ryabkov said. “If, alternatively, they had just been boozing at a hotel bar, they have only themselves to blame.”

He added that Russian investigators at the time responded “promptly” to information from the US Embassy, but that when they asked for “more specificity to their complaints” the Americans did not respond, not even to provide the names of the “victims.”

While the State Department has declined to comment on the report, US officials have expressed concern generally over the treatment of American diplomats in Russia.

“We remain troubled by the way our diplomatic and consular staff have been treated over the past two years,” State Department spokeswoman Elizabeth Trudeau told reporters this week.

“We have raised our concerns at the highest levels,” she added. “In particular, the harassment and surveillance of our diplomatic personnel in Moscow by security personnel and traffic police has increased significantly. As we’ve said before, we find this unacceptable.”

In his statement, Ryabkov also cited what he called a “clear increase” in the number of US attempts to “recruit” Russian diplomats posted in the US including “threats against the well-being of family members.”

Earlier this week, the US suspended ongoing talks with Russia over ways to achieve a lasting cessation of hostilities in Syria.

Secretary of State John Kerry blamed the impasse on Russian support for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and the regime’s ongoing assault against the city of Aleppo.