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    Russian Diplomat Warns US' Shannon of Response to Seizure of Diplomatic Property

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    Russia could impose retaliatory measures soon if the United States does not return the diplomatic property it seized late last year, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov told Sputnik on Tuesday.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — A senior White House official told Sputnik on Monday that the properties, seized in December 2016 over Russia’s alleged interference in the US election, would be given back only under the condition that it receives something in return from Moscow. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov called the condition "unaccaptable."

    "I personally think that in the near future we will all turn to practical response actions," Ryabkov said. "At least I made a corresponding warning to [US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Thomas] Shannon and other colleagues who participated in yesterday's consultations."

    Recounting his talks with Shannon in Washington on Monday, he noted that Moscow finds unacceptable the US position that it seized the Russian diplomatic compounds in Maryland in New York in December 2016 legally.

    "The longer the US persists, the less likely a solution could be found that does not infringe on interests, including theirs," Ryabkov said.

    Ryabkov also said that the date of his next meeting with Shannon depends on progress with the seized diplomatic property. "There is an understanding that contacts at this level and in this format will be continued. We will agree on the date as the situation becomes clearer around our diplomatic property and as the US side's reaction to our ideas comes in."

    Ryabkov added that the agenda of his meeting with US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Thomas Shannon was not solely centered around the issue of Russia’s diplomatic property in the United States, there were signals that Moscow and Washington could work more constructively on certain issues.

    "The agenda of the meeting was much broader. There is evident intent of Moscow and Washington to broaden their common stances on some issues and to work more constructively than before. We conveyed certain specific ideas on these questions to the US side and will wait for its reaction."

    Last week, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that Moscow would take retaliatory measures against Washington if the situation with Russia's diplomatic property in the United States was not resolved.

    In December 2016, the administration of former US President Barack Obama imposed a set of punitive measures against Russia, including the expulsion of 35 Russian diplomats and the closure of the two Russian diplomatic compounds. The actions were taken in response to Moscow's alleged interference in the US presidential election, which Russia has repeatedly denied.

    Back in December, Russian President Vladimir Putin decided not to respond to sanctions imposed by the outgoing US administration and act in accordance with the ties built with the new US leadership.

    Related:

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    Russia 'Forced' to Retaliate in US Refusal to Return Diplomatic Property - MP
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    What Do the Latest Twists in Russia-US Row Over Seized Property Actually Signal
    Tags:
    diplomatic property, Thomas Shannon, Sergei Ryabkov, United States, Russia
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