WASHINGTON, January 16. /TASS/. The actions of the United States with regard to Russian diplomatic property on the US territory are "perfectly legal," an official with the US State Department told TASS. The spokesman was asked to comment on a statement made by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov regarding this issue.
"As Spokesperson [Heather] Nauert has said, the actions that the United States Government has taken with regard to Russian consulates and facilities has been perfectly legal. We’ve talked about this for many months now. There is nothing that was inappropriate or done wrong in any kind of fashion," the official said.
On Monday, speaking at his annual press conference, Sergey Lavrov said that Russia had completed preparations for pursuing in court the US over the seizure of Russian diplomatic property.
"I have not mentioned here an unprecedented incident, the seizure of Russian diplomatic property. We are now launching legal proceedings, preparations have already been completed," the diplomat said.
On September 2, the US authorities closed down Russia’s consulate-general in San Francisco, trade mission in Washington and its branch in New York, which Russia had been using on lease terms. The two first facilities on the list are Russian property and enjoy diplomatic immunity. Moscow has interpreted the seizure of its assets as an openly hostile act and urged the US authorities to urgently return them.
Speaking at a news conference in Xiamen, China, on September 5, Russian President Vladimir Putin instructed the Foreign Ministry to take the case over the seizure of Russian diplomatic property to a US court. Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov later said that the work on the lawsuit was in progress and it would be filed in the near future.