Moscow's patience running out in diplomatic row with US

13 July, 2017, 01:36 | Author: Irene Delgado
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The Russian newspaper Izvestia reported Tuesday, citing a diplomatic source anonymous, that Moscow was preparing to expel around 30 american diplomats and seize the assets of americans in Russia.

Later in December, the Russian Foreign Ministry proposed expelling 35 US diplomats as a tit-for-tat measure, but President Putin rejected the suggestion and called the move by the outgoing Obama administration a provocation.

While it was used as a recreational facility for Russian diplomats, USA officials said it also was a spying outpost.

With relations at what the US calls a "low point", earlier this year the two countries set up an ongoing dialogue between Undersecretary of State Tom Shannon and Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov.

The Kremlin is keenly focused on getting the U.S.to return control of two Cold War-era recreational estates - one in Maryland, one in NY - that former President Barack Obama seized in December as part of his response to Moscow's meddling in the 2016 presidential election.

Moscow is weighing whether to expel American diplomats and seize USA embassy property in retaliation for former President Obama's decision to kick out Russian officials and reclaim two diplomatic compounds suspected of being intelligence bases in NY and Maryland.

After meetings at European Union headquarters, Lavrov said Moscow was "still hopeful that the USA, as a proponent of the rule of law, will finally respect the worldwide obligations".

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Putin did not expel United States diplomats at the time Obama did in hope of building a better relationship with his successor, Donald Trump.

However, the issue of how Russian Federation might decide to retaliate against the USA should not be discussed in public with mass media, Lavrov stated.

Moscow last month abruptly cancelled the last scheduled meeting between Shannon and Ryabkov after the U.S. Treasury announced new sanctions against Russian Federation over its aggression in Ukraine. He mentioned, however, that Moscow would seek justice and demand that global norms regarding diplomatic property be observed.

"If this does not happen, if we see that this step is not seen as essential in Washington, then of course we will take retaliatory measures".

Hitting back against accusations of Russian meddling in the 206 United States elections, Lavrov asked to be shown "at least one fact" proving Moscow tried to interfere with the democratic process.

He did say, however, that it was up to Russia's Foreign Ministry to decide when to impose tit-for-tat measures. In the wake Trump's meeting with Putin, the perception among administration critics is that the White House is too eager to appease Moscow in areas where its policy conflicts with Washington.

The administration of U.S. President Donald Trump said in April it was launching an inter-agency review of whether the lifting of sanctions against Iran was in the United States' national security interests.

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