New U.S. ambassador to Russia heckled by pro-Kremlin protesters

(Reuters) - The United States' new ambassador to Russia, Lynne Tracy, was heckled by a crowd of people chanting anti-U.S. slogans on Monday as she entered the Russian Foreign Ministry in Moscow to present her diplomatic credentials.

The group held hand-painted placards carrying messages criticising Washington, one of which read "Your tanks are killing civilians".

Protests in Russia - particularly on issues related to the war - are effectively banned unless they have the backing of the authorities.

Relations between Washington and Moscow are near all-time lows. The United States has responded to Russia's invasion of Ukraine by supplying Kyiv with weaponry - soon to include main battle tanks - and imposing a swathe of new economic sanctions on Russia, all in concert with Western allies.

While there have been occasional diplomatic accommodations, including prisoner swaps involving U.S. Marine veteran Trevor Reed and basketball star Brittney Griner, high-level contact between the two sides has been scarce.

Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov told Tracy he expected her to follow the principle of not interfering in Russia's internal affairs, the state-owned RIA Novosti news agency reported.

The U.S. Embassy said: "Ambassador Tracy is focused on maintaining dialogue between our capitals at a time of unprecedented tension, protecting the interests of U.S. citizens detained in Russia, and supporting ties between the American and Russian peoples."

(Reporting by Reuters; Editing by Kevin Liffey)