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Senator says no logic in linking return of Moscow's diplomatic property with Syrian issue

According to Frants Klintsevich, if Moscow put forward such conditions, there would have been no US diplomatic property left in Russia

MOSCOW, July 14. /TASS/. Attempts to link the return of Russia’s diplomatic property seized in the US to the Syrian issue look illogical, First Deputy Chairman of the Russian Federation Council (upper house of parliament) Committee for Defense and Security Frants Klintsevich told reporters on Friday.

According to him, if Moscow put forward such conditions, there would have been no US diplomatic property left in Russia.

"It is a strange logic, moreover, it is illogical," Klintsevich said. "If we adopted such an approach, then there would have been no US diplomatic property left in Russia," he added.

Deputy assistant to US President Donald Trump Sebastian Gorka said earlier that the US administration was considering the return of two Russian diplomatic compounds. "We want to give collaboration and cooperation a chance," he said. According to Gorka, the Russian diplomatic property may be returned if Washington sees "acts of good faith" from Moscow as far as Syria is concerned. "If we can see acts of good faith come out of the Kremlin with regards to things such as a ceasefire, then perhaps there is a chance for what [US Secretary of State] Rex Tillerson wants to see happen, which is an improvement in relations between our two capitals," Gorka said.

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. However, Moscow fully rejected all allegations and refrained from giving a tit-for-tat response.

The Russian personnel’s access to these compounds was barred. Russia’s Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said earlier that these facilities had always had diplomatic immunity, so their seizure was a gross violation of the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations.

On July 12, Russian Presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov warned that Moscow was running out of patience over the seizure of the Russian diplomatic property in the United States. He said there was no "particular timeline" but "patience is running out indeed and that’s why the situation is unprecedented - both in regard to bilateral relations and international law."