MOSCOW, July 17. /TASS/. The Kremlin expects Washington to show political wisdom in the issue of returning Russia’s diplomatic property. “We continue to hope that political wisdom and political will will be shown by our American counterparts [in the issue of returning the Russian diplomatic property],” Russian Presidential Spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.
He declined to comment on the Kremlin’s possible response to the results of today’s meeting between Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov and US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Thomas Shannon in this respect. “Let us not get ahead of ourselves. The situation is quite sensitive indeed. It is complicated, to put it bluntly, so some redundant words can only make things worse,” the Kremlin spokesman emphasized.
The Kremlin continues to believe that Russia’s diplomatic property in the US must be returned without any preconditions. “We believe linking the return of the diplomatic property to some preconditions is totally unacceptable,” Peskov said. “We believe that it must be returned without any preconditions, without any talks, because what is happening de facto and de jure is a flagrant violation of international law.”
Sebastian Gorka, deputy assistant to US President Donald Trump, earlier told reporters that the US administration is weighing the return of two Russian compounds in the US and can resort to such steps, if Moscow shows “acts of good faith” with regard to Syria.
In late December 2016, the Obama administration imposed sanctions on Russia declaring 35 staff members of the Russian Embassy in Washington and the Consulate General in San Francisco persona non grata and seizing two Russian diplomatic compounds – one in Maryland and the other one in New York. Russians were denied access to these compounds. Moscow has not taken tit-for-tat measures so far.
Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova stated that, if no progress is made, Russia is ready to significantly reduce the number of personnel at the US Embassy in Moscow and seize the US diplomatic mission’s compound and a warehouse as a tit-for-tat response to Washington’s actions.
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