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“Of course it is,” he replied. “But the mere fact that someone is asking such a question is depressing. Tragic that someone could even think for a moment that this photo is real.”

The posting of the photo is not the first time Mr. McFaul has been the victim of a prank. Several times last year, he had to defend himself on social media.

In April 2012, he denounced a Twitter attack that accused him of claiming voter fraud in the presidential election that Mr. Putin easily won. Mr. McFaul noted that the trickster even spelled his name wrong.

The next month, the ambassador was under such steady assault from Putin supporters that he took to the U.S. Embassy website to demand that they “stop propagating myths” about him.

JUAREZ RENAISSANCE

After years of a turf war between two Mexican drug cartels that left 10,500 dead, the shattered city of Juarez is trying to rebuild, and the U.S. wants to help revive the border town across the Rio Grande from El Paso, Texas.

“We want to be Juarez’s partner in its renaissance,” U.S. Ambassador Earl Anthony Wayne told Juarez officials at the opening of a children’s museum last week.

Mr. Wayne recognized leading Juarez business owners who helped build the $23 million Tumbleweed museum, the El Paso Times reported.

“This is evidence that new and better things are to come for Juarez,” he said.

• Embassy Row is published on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. James Morrison can be reached at jmorrison@washingtontimes.com or @EmbassyRow.