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Russia not to take action against US diplomatic property - diplomat

In response to US actions, nearly symmetrical measures have been already approved, Maria Zakharova said

MOSCOW, April 29. /TASS/. Moscow will not make steps aimed at isolating the US diplomatic property in Russia, Foreign Ministry’s Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said in the Sunday Evening with Vladimir Solovyev program on Rossiya’1 TV channel.

"Certainly, the images that went round the world are a sensation. I have never seen that purportedly lawful actions (because our counterparts from the [US] Department of State informed us that those actions were absolutely lawful) were committed in some hellish way. Three women surrounded the gate, one of them mounted the fence and covered all with some sort of a blue sheet, and hiding underneath a man was doing something for a rather long period of time. Of course, we will never do so," she said answering a question about Russia’s possible response to US officials’ intrusion into the Russian consulate in Seattle, Washington.

The diplomat said that "neither Russian diplomats, nor other representatives of the Russian government" would approach the US embassy or consulate "with a blue cloth" in order "do something with US property or rented facilities hiding under it."

"No way," she said.

In response to US actions, nearly symmetrical measures have been already approved, she said.

According to Zakharova, "preparatory work" is underway for court proceedings into the seizure of Russian diplomatic property by the United States.

On Wednesday, US officials broke into the Russian consulate in Seattle, by forcing the door lock.

Nikolai Pukalov, the head of the consular department of Russia’s embassy to the US, told TASS later that US officials forced entry to Russia’s consulate in Seattle in violation of international law. He recalled a similar situation after the Russian consulate general in San Francisco was closed on September 2, 2017 following orders from the US administration.

How US seizes Russian diplomatic property

Three weeks prior to Donald Trump’s swearing-in ceremony, then US President Barack Obama imposed sanctions on Russia’s Federal Security Service and Main Directorate of General Staff. Simultaneously, the US administration expelled 35 Russian diplomats and seized two Russian compounds in the states of New York and Maryland.

On 2 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.