Moscow says US diplomats caught in restricted area near rocket test site: report

Moscow says US diplomats caught in restricted area near rocket test site: report
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Three U.S. diplomats were reportedly removed from a train while they were traveling toward a Russian city near the site of a military testing accident. 

The diplomats were heading toward Severodvinsk, where only Russian nationals are permitted, the BBC reported

Russia said the U.S. officials told authorities they wanted to go to the city of Arkhangelsk, about 20 miles away, according to the British network. 

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Russia's foreign ministry said in a statement obtained by the BBC that the diplomats were on an official trip and had informed Russian authorities. 

"Only, they said their intention was to visit Arkhangelsk and they ended up en route to Severodvinsk," it said. "They probably got lost. We are ready to give the US embassy a map [of Russia]."

A U.S. State Department spokesperson told the network that the diplomats "were on official travel and had properly notified Russian authorities of their travel."

A spokesperson for Russia’s foreign ministry said on Thursday, however, that U.S. diplomats regularly try to gain access to restricted areas, Reuters noted.

Severodvinsk is near a rocket test site where Moscow acknowledged that five people were killed in an August explosion. Following the blast, radiation levels in Severodvinsk rose 16 times higher than normal, according to the country's weather service.