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Restrictions on number of US diplomats in Russia to take effect September 1 — diplomat

Moscow has also warned Washington against attempts to use Russia’s decision on retaliation to fuel tensions and apply new measures, according to the diplomat

NOVO-OGARYOVO, July 28. /TASS/. The first set of restrictive measures against US diplomats in Russia will take effect on September 1, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov told the media on Friday.

"On July 28 the American side was notified of the measures to reduce US diplomatic presence in Russia and of the suspension of access to the US embassy’s diplomatic real estate. The first set of these measures will take effect on September 1," he said.

Ryabkov stated that as of that date the overall number of personnel employed at the US embassy and the consulates in Russia must not exceed 455.

"This is precisely the number of personnel at the Russian offices in the United States," Ryabkov said.

In this way Russia was restoring the parity that "for a long time was violated by the Americans and was unfair by and large," he concluded.

Ryabkov recalled that Russia’s diplomatic properties in the United States had been illegally confiscated by the previous Barack Obama administration.

"We waited for seven months. It’ll be precisely seven months tomorrow. No return of that property has happened. Various unacceptable conditions were put forward to us. In the end the cup of patience overflowed," Ryabkov said.

Ryabkov also said that Moscow has warned Washington against attempts to use Russia’s decision on retaliation to fuel tensions and apply new measures.

Moscow will decide, what further measures to undertake against the US, depending on how Washington will react to the recent statement by the Russian Foreign Ministry regarding cutting the personnel of the US diplomatic missions in Russia, Ryabkov said.

"We do not rule out for ourselves any steps so that, so to say, "bring back to senses" the brazen Russophobes, setting the tone now, first of all those on the Capitol Hill, and dictating solutions of the kind," he said. "Depending on how the US will react to our measures, to what was announced today, we shall see what could be done, whether it should be done, in what spheres, and so forth."

"We warn Washington against attempts to use this situation as a pretext to further exacerbate the situation and have the surge of measures and counter-measures spiral out of control," he said.

Ryabkov also noted that Russia did not reject a dialogue with the US and would search for solutions to the current problems, while supporting its interests.

"Russia does not reject a dialogue and cooperation with the US in the areas where it is possible. We don’t give in to emotions and will support our interests in a consistent and steady way and search for solutions to the current problems at the same time," he said.

The US Senate unanimously adopted a bill on new anti-Russian sanctions. On Friday, the Russian Foreign Ministry declared reduction in the number of US diplomats to 455 people from September 1, equaling it to the number of Russian diplomats in the US, as well as other counter-measures regarding the US, and did not rule out adoption of new sanctions - depending on the US reaction.

Ryabkov noted that the Russian side had informed the US about its decision, but no reaction from Washington had followed.