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    Russian Senator Vows Moscow's Retaliation if US Blocks Diplomatic Entry Visas

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    Russia could respond if the United States blocks entry visas to its diplomats, the Russian upper chamber of parliament's foreign affairs committee chairman told Sputnik on Wednesday.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — 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.

    "In the future, if the US places obstacles to issuing visas to new employees of the Russian diplomatic mission, we should respond to these measures exactly similarly, like a mirror," Konstantin Kosachev said.

    The United States' request for land to build a new consulate in St. Petersburg isn't connected with the seizure of Russian diplomatic property in Maryland and New York, he said.

    "It is foolish to deny the fact that it is on the agenda, that the US is putting it forward. But it is absolutely not considered in connection with the disputes over the seized Russian diplomatic property," Konstantin Kosachev said.

    Kosachev added: "If the US is trying to draw up this game in such a way, then this is nothing more than blackmail, to which Russia should not acquiesce under any circumstances."

    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.

    Earlier this month, 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.

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    diplomatic property, Konstantin Kosachev, United States, Russia
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