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Diplomat warns US that dragging out property spat will receive tit-for-tat response

July 03, 2017, 1:41 UTC+3

As Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov put it, the US, from a legal perspective, "seriously violates the regulations of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations."

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MOSCOW, June 3. /TASS/. Washington’s dragging out with the situation around the confiscated Russian diplomatic property will be responded in kind, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov said in an interview with the Izvestiya newspaper.

"There is no action [regarding the situation with the diplomatic property]. Our regular messages to Washington demanding to return our property, that is protected by diplomatic immunity, immediately and with no strings attached have proved to be ineffective," the diplomat stated. As he put it, the US, from a legal perspective, "seriously violates the regulations of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations."

"It contravenes even its own law that prohibits such offenses against private property," Ryabkov noted. "It [the diplomatic property] was bought back in the USSR and then re-registered as Russia’s property. There cannot be any other explanation or interpretation here." Deputy foreign minister stressed that this is "a serious violation of the legal rules."

He highlighted that Moscow called for "common sense and understanding by the American side of the clear rules of international communication." "There is no effect yet, Americans stick to their line, which makes us think of retaliatory measures." Ryabkov said. "Responding in kind is one of the basic principles of interstate communication in situations when other party’s interests are affected."

"That is why I do not rule out responding in kind. Moreover, we warned the US many times that further prolongation of the solution to this issue will lead to corresponding retaliatory measures, including responding in kind," the diplomat stressed.

At the end of December 2016, the former Barack Obama administration imposed new sanctions against Russia, declaring 35 employees of the Embassy of Russia in Washington and the Consulate General of Russia in San Francisco persona non grata and closing two diplomatic houses (in New York and Maryland). The access to these two complexes was blocked for the Russian staff on December 30. Washington linked these sanctions with hacker attacks on US political institutes that the resigned US authorities blamed Russia for.

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