MOSCOW, September 11. /TASS/. Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov has expressed protest to US Under Secretary of State Thomas Shannon over forcible closure by the US authorities of Russian consulate general in San Francisco and illegal seizure of Russian diplomatic property in Washington and San Francisco, the Russian Foreign Ministry said on Monday after consultations between the two countries’ senior diplomats in Helsinki.
"Focus was made on the situation around forcible closure by the US authorities of Russia’s consulate general in San Francisco and illegitimate seizure of our diplomatic property in that city and in Washington, where two Russian living compounds had been seized earlier," the ministry said. "These steps, including searches of premises enjoying diplomatic immunity that were conducted by the US security services under the threat of the use of force, are a flagrant violation of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations and the bilateral Consular Convention. More to it, serious restrictions were imposed on the freedom of movement of our diplomats."
"The Russian side once again expressed protest over the United States’ hostile activities, infringement upon diplomatic immunity," the ministry said. "It was stressed that Russia is making conditions for US diplomats in Russia equal to the restrictions set for our representatives."
According to the ministry, the Russian side drew attention to other Washington’s unacceptable actions, including arrests of Russian citizens by US security services in third countries. "The Russian side urged to stop actions geared towards destruction of the Russian-US relations and undermining international law, which is fraught with serious consequences, and to begin efforts to find solutions to the existing problems that have emerged not through our fault," the ministry stressed.
Ryabkov told TASS that Russia is not going to delay going to court over the situation with Russian diplomatic property in the United States but will do it promptly.
"We will do it swiftly, we will not drag on it," he said, adding that "so far, there are no concrete time frames."
The senior envoy also said that he plans to hold strategic security consultations with Shannon on Tuesday.
"Yes, initially we planned to dedicate the first day, September 11, to bilateral issues," he said over the phone. "On the second day, we planned to discuss problems of strategic stability."