Russia has threatened to take retaliatory measures against the United States after diplomatic talks collapsed over the seizure of two mansions.
U.S. and Russian officials met on Monday to reach an agreement over sanctions imposed by the Obama administration over alleged Russian hacking in the 2016 presidential campaign. However, the Russian foreign ministry said Tuesday that they didn’t reach a deal with the U.S. administration and reserved the right to use “retaliatory measures.”
“Russia stressed that if Washington does not address this and other concerns, including persistent efforts to hinder the operation of Russia’s diplomatic missions, Russia has the right to take retaliatory measures in accordance with the principle of reciprocity,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Tuesday.
The U.S. ordered the seizure of two Russian diplomatic mansions and the expulsion of 35 individuals last December as a result of suspicion of meddling in U.S. elections.
Speaking at a press conference in Minsk on Monday, Sergey Lavrov, the Russian foreign minister, described the U.S. attitude as a “robbery in broad daylight.”
“How is it possible to take away property formalized by a ratified inter-governmental document? And what kind of principle is it to say ‘What’s mine is mine, and we’ll divide what’s yours’ while discussing its return? Decent and well brought up people don’t behave this way,” Lavrov told journalists.
President Donald Trump has said he doesn’t want to remove sanctions against Russia, but has told the press that during his first face-to-face encounter with President Putin they discussed easing sanctions.
A bill with new sanctions against Russia has cleared the U.S. Senate but it’s currently stuck in the House.
Lavrov also told journalists: “I am confident that the Trump administration has some reasonable people who realize that the Obama administration had made a decision to seize diplomatic real estate and to evict Russian diplomats and their families when the administration was in its death throes.”
He had told the press last week that Russia has been looking into “specific measures,” which according to the BBC, citing unnamed Russian officials, involved the expulsion of 30 U.S. diplomats as well as seizure of U.S. property.