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U.S. Asks Russia to Extend USAID Closure to May, Kommersant Says

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Sept. 20 (Bloomberg) -- The U.S. asked Russia to extend to next May an Oct. 1 deadline for the aid agency USAID to halt its Russian activities , Kommersant said, without citing anyone.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made the request in a letter to her Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, according to the Moscow-based newspaper. The U.S. Embassy in Moscow didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

The Russian Foreign Ministry said yesterday that the closure of USAID was justified because the agency was interfering in domestic politics by sponsoring civil-society groups and seeking to influence elections. The move raised tensions between the two countries and deepened a crackdown on Russian nongovernmental organizations dependent on foreign assistance.

To contact the reporter on this story: Henry Meyer in Moscow at hmeyer4@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Balazs Penz at bpenz@bloomberg.net

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