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Moscow threatened to expel US diplomats

Moscow threatened to send US diplomats and confiscate diplomatic property if Washington does not make concessions on the issue of last year's arrest of two Russian suburban diplomatic residences.

Maria Zakharova, the official representative of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said that if "during the talks in Washington between the representatives of the foreign affairs agencies of the two countries" the matter does not move "on Monday," Russia will have to take retaliatory measures against the United States. "

According to her, the number of employees of the US Embassy can be reduced, and the dacha and storage space used by the embassy are arrested.

The warning on Friday testifies to the tension in the complex relations between Moscow and Washington, despite the seemingly friendly meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump last week.

Although the Kremlin was pleased to note that the leaders of the two countries had talked for more than two hours during the G20 summit, he was watching with apprehension the appearance of sensational reports about President Trump's son meeting with a Russian lawyer during last year's election campaign in the United States.

In December, US President Barack Obama's administration expelled 35 from Russian diplomats, who she claimed were spies, and also blocked access to two suburban residences in Maryland and Long Island, which were used by workers of Russia's diplomatic missions. Washington called these measures a response to cyber attacks against the National Committee of the Democratic Party and Hillary Clinton's election headquarters, which, according to representatives of the US intelligence community, were committed by Russia.

At that time, Vladimir Putin said that he would refrain from retaliating, since he hoped that the Trump administration would show a more constructive approach to Russia. But it's been several months since Donald Trump took over the presidency, and improving bilateral relations has seemed less likely. And Moscow began to follow another line.

As the Russian authorities say, the arrest of Russian diplomatic property in the United States is a violation of the Vienna Convention. After last month the US administration expanded its sanctions list to include several other Russian officials, Moscow warned that its patience was coming to an end.

Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov and US Under Secretary of State Thomas Shannon, who was charged with resolving the most pressing problems in order to avoid further deterioration of relations, had to meet to discuss the issue of diplomatic real estate last month. However, the negotiations were postponed until Monday.

According to Maria Zakharova, the meeting that was planned earlier was postponed, as the US was not ready for dialogue. "We expect that now, after the summit meeting in Hamburg on July 7, the US side will show a more constructive approach," she said.

A source: ИноСМИ

Author: Kathrin Hille (Kathrin Hille, Financial Times, UK)

Tags: Russia, USA, Politics, Diplomacy, Real Estate, International Relations

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