Russian diplomat accused of injuring New York police officer returns home

Russia rejected a U.S. request to waive the immunity of a diplomat who allegedly hit a New York City police officer while driving drunk, and sent him back to Moscow instead, the United States said Wednesday.

The diplomat, Ilya Morozov, returned home Tuesday, just hours after the U.S. sent a letter formally asking that his diplomatic immunity be waived so he could face felony charges, U.S. Ambassador John Bolton said.

The accident occurred Saturday night, when Morozov' car allegedly hit a police officer after swerving around traffic cones set up for construction on the Franklin D. Roosevelt Drive, the main highway running down the east side of Manhattan.

The officer, whose name was not released, suffered minor injuries to his knees and was in stable condition, police officials said. Morozov was issued seven traffic tickets for violations that included speeding, driving drunk, and driving on a sidewalk.

Russia acknowledged that Morozov's car entered the construction area but rejected that Morozov hit the police officer.

Bolton said the United States would have preferred that Morozov be prosecuted, but acknowledged Moscow's right not to waive his immunity. Bolton said the U.S. would have demanded he be sent home anyway.

"It's not as good as prosecution but it would be significant in that he couldn't come back to the United States," Bolton said. "Although they weren't prepared to waive diplomatic immunity, they know that we were serious and we would have expelled him."

A spokeswoman for Russia's mission to the U.N. refused immediate comment, reports AP.

O.Ch.