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MOSCOW, July 21. /TASS/. Arrest of Russian diplomatic compounds in the United States was designed to make life at the White House unbearable, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said in an interview with NBC News.
"I believe it was the act of desperation and a desire to leave something to his successor, which would be unrepairable as far as Russian-American relations are concerned. So it was not this administration’s act, it was an act designed, among other things which were promoted, to make the life of this administration absolutely unbearable," Lavrov said.
Lavrov pointed out that the history of the United States says the country was created through wars and seizures of property and land.
"But I never suspected that this would be done by a party which now represents a quite different philosophy," he noted. "By the way, when people say that the property was arrested and diplomats were expelled to punish Russia for meddling with the American election, don’t believe this crap, because the official note verbale which we received from the State Department said nothing about the reasons for which this property had been seized."
"So it’s just straight forward robbery, and international law is entirely on our side, and we would act on the basis of international law to get it back," the minister emphasized.
In late December 2016, the Obama administration introduced a new round of sanctions against some Russian companies, the Federal Security Service and the Main Intelligence Agency of Russia’s General Staff. Besides that, US authorities expelled 35 Russian diplomats and shut down two Russian compounds in New York and Maryland. Washington attributed these sanctions to cyber attacks against US political institutions, accusing Russia of being involved. Moscow denies any allegations.
The Russian personnel’s access to these compounds was barred. Moscow has not given a tit-for-tat response so far.
The return of Russian diplomatic property was the focus of talks between Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov and US Under Secretary of State Thomas Shannon in Washington on Monday.