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State Department confirms US agents entered seized Russian diplomatic property

The US Department of State explained that by security reasons, said Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova

MOSCOW, September 3. /TASS/. The US Department of State has confirmed that US security officers had entered Russian diplomatic facilities that had been seized in Washington and New York in the winter, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Sunday.

"Let’s get back to our two facilities in New York and Washington that were blocked past winter. There was no entry immediately after the closure. We were required to vacate them, the police cordoned them off, locked them up and left. We have repeatedly stated that we had witnessed that someone had been remaining there all the time. And now, the Department of State has admitted that they have visited these facilities and stayed inside," Zakharova told the Rossiya-1 television channel.

According to the Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, the US Department of State explained it away as security moves. "As it turned out, post-factum, three weeks after what they had done in the winter, they noted down on some sort of a register that due to some security reasons they had the right to do that," she said.

In July, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer refused to comment on the situation regarding the return of Russian diplomatic property, saying that such issues are within the competence of the Department of State. The Russian foreign ministry however said it had seen US security officers entering the territory of the seized Russian diplomatic property.

In late 2016, Washington imposed another round of sanctions against Russian intelligence services and a number of individuals having accused them of meddling in American elections. The administration of then-US President Barack Obama also expelled 35 Russia diplomats and seized two Russian compounds in the States of New York and Maryland. Russian personnel was denied access to these compounds.