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Moscow demands return of all Russian diplomatic properties seized by US

April 26, 16:48 UTC+3

The Russian diplomat slammed the intrusion into the residence of Russian Consul General in Seattle as a gross violation of the international law

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Residence of Russia's consul general in Seattle, March 26, 2018

Residence of Russia's consul general in Seattle, March 26, 2018

© AP Photo/Elaine Thompson

MOSCOW, April 26. /TASS/. Moscow insists on the return of all six Russian diplomatic facilities seized by the United States, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Thursday.

"We insist on the return of all six facilities of Russian property seized by the US," the diplomat stressed.

According to Zakharova, Russian representatives are not allowed to these facilities even to check the work of utility systems. The US officials have recommended many times that Russia should sell this property, she noted.

"We expect that the global community will pay attention to this actual state robbery to which the US authorities have downgraded themselves," Zakharova stressed.

Intrusion into Russian Consul General in Seattle

The intrusion of US representatives into the residence of Russian Consul General in Seattle is a gross violation of the international law, Zakharova said.

"The situation is absolutely outrageous, disgusting and unprecedented. Nothing like this has ever happened in the history of bilateral relations," the diplomat said.

"Certainly, this is a gross violation by the United States of basic international rules of law, including those documented in the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, the 1963 Vienna Convention on Consular Relations and the bilateral consular convention of 1964," Zakharova said.

Sources from the Russian Embassy in Washington told TASS earlier that US officials broke into the residence of Russia’s consul in Seattle, Washington, on Wednesday breaking open the entrance door lock.

On Tuesday afternoon, diplomats working at the Russian Consulate General in Seattle left the city. Senior Consul Khalit Aisin told TASS that 23 people - diplomats and their families, - departed in eleven cars. The convoy headed for Washington.

The US ordered to seal off the building of the Russian Consulate General at midnight on April 1.

The Russian Consulate General in Seattle offered consular services on the territories of Alaska, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, Oregon, North Dakota, South Dakota, Washington, Wyoming, Utah, and Guam Island, American Samoa and the Northern Mariana Islands. Henceforth, Russian citizens will have to apply for consular assistance to the consular department of the Russian embassy in Washington, DC and to the consulates general in New York and Houston, Texas.

Seizure of Russian diplomatic compounds

In late 2016, the United States imposed another round of sanctions against Russian intelligence services and a number of individuals having accused them of meddling with the US elections. The US administration also expelled 35 Russian diplomats and seized two Russian compounds in the states of New York and Maryland.

In September 2017, the Donald Trump administration closed the Russian Consulate General in San Francisco, the Russian trade mission in Washington and its branch in New York. The consulate and trade mission are Russia’s state property and have diplomatic immunity.

In late March 2018, the US administration announced it was expelling 48 Russian diplomats and 12 diplomats from Russia’s permanent mission to the UN in New York. It also closed the Russian consulate in Seattle.

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