Washington Holds Russian Diplomatic Compounds Hostage
by Stephen Lendman (stephenlendman.org – Home – Stephen Lendman)
Last December, the Obama administration irresponsibly expelled 35 Russian diplomats.
It seized diplomatic Russian compounds in Maryland and New York, a flagrant violation of international law.
At the time, Sergey Lavrov said “Obama accusing Russia of all mortal sins, trying to blame us for the failure of its foreign policy initiatives, among other things, has put forward additional accusations without any grounds whatsoever that the Russian state was behind attempts to meddle in the US election campaign, which led to (Hillary’s) defeat…”
“(W)ithout providing any facts or evidence…a new wave of sanctions” were imposed.
Russian New York and Maryland compounds Obama ordered closed were used by Russian children during the winter holiday period.
“We are forbidden to use the property that is the state property of the Russian Federation,” Lavrov explained.
One is “a dacha for the recreation of our staff members in Washington and the second dacha for the recreation of our staff members in the Russian mission to the UN.”
Lavrov blasted Obama for his deplorable actions, including absurdly claiming the compounds were used as recreation spy nests.
Russia wants its diplomatic property back. US hostility prevents resolving numerous issues.
Last week, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said the issue has been festering for months. “According to our data, (unauthorized) penetrations occurred…on many occasions.”
On Monday, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov met with US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Thomas Shannon in Washington.
Nothing was officially reported on whether progress was made on returning Russia’s diplomatic property. Its personnel are prohibited from entering them.
Moscow hasn’t responded in kind so far. Days earlier, Lavrov said his government’s patience is wearing thin.
If things aren’t resolved soon, Zakharova said significant reductions in Washington’s embassy in Moscow will be ordered. Its dacha and warehouse will be seized.
Separately, Russia’s Foreign Ministry blasted EU attempts to link improved relations to full implementation of Minsk ceasefire terms, Moscow scrupulously observes.
“By outlining Russia’s steady course on reviving cooperation with the EU, Lavrov stressed the absurdity of the EU’s attempts to link improvement in relations with Russia with full implementation of the Minsk accords,” the ministry said.
After talks last week with EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini, Lavrov expressed hope for better relations, knowing Europe follows Washington’s lead – its member states harming their own interests instead of serving them.
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