‘Time running out’: Moscow warns it may expel US diplomats over seized Russian property
Moscow warned that it may take retaliatory measures and expel US Embassy staff unless Washington does something to break the stalemate in the closure of two Russian diplomatic compounds in the US.
Russian Foreign Ministry stated that it is hard to cooperate with the US in the light of diplomats’ repatriation and confiscated Russian property, which was under diplomatic immunity during its illegal seizure by the Obama administration in 2016.
“The seized objects have not been returned. Washington has not only failed to cancel the decision to expel our employees, but also refuses to issue visas to those who are to replace them,” Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova said on Friday.
She added that at least Washington could have given access to Russian diplomats to the compounds while the issue is stalled.
Moscow is ready to retaliate unless the situation does not change, Zakharova warned.
“We have something to retaliate with: the personnel of the US Embassy in Moscow greatly exceeds the number of our embassy staff in Washington,” she said.
Zakharova did not elaborate on an exact time when Moscow would take retaliatory measures. She noted that everything depends on coming talks in Washington, but “time is running out.”
“For now we have the date of consultations on the issue and a clear position that time is running out,” she said. She added that Moscow did not react immediately as it considered the move of the Obama administration as “provocative” and an attempt to disrupt bilateral relations under the new authorities.
Zakharova stressed that the US had enough time to deal with the “disgusting legacy and to start building relations based on mutual respect,” but still nothing has changed.