Maria Zakharova: Moscow preparing retaliatory measures against Washington
Russia is ready to take retaliatory measures as a response to the seizure of its diplomatic property in the United States and the expulsion of Russian diplomats, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Maria Zakharova said.
According to her, the previous US administration left a lot of unsolved issues. "If they don’t discontinue this practice, then it will be hard to build relation," she noted.
Zakharova noted that if there is no progress, Russia will have to take retaliatory measures. "As for the measures - the number of personnel at the US embassy in Moscow significantly exceeds the number of our personnel working in Washington. So, one of the options is that, apart from expelling the corresponding number of US diplomats, we will just have to even the number of personnel," Zakharova added.
She added that the US refused to issue visas to Russian diplomats who have to come to replace the 35 diplomats expelled at the end of December.
The director of the Roosevelt Fund of Study of the US at Moscow State University, Doctor of Historical Sciences, Yuri Rogulev, speaking with a correspondent of Vestnik Kavkaza, noted that diplomatic possibilities for settling the conflict around Russian diplomatic property in the US are not yet exhausted. "Our Deputy Minister Sergei Ryabkov and his US counterpart will meet in a few days to discuss US-Russian relations. Besides, there were conciliatory statements from the American side: they could return this property if we manage to agree on Syria. So, it seems to me that we should wait a little, there is a hope that this conflict will be resolved," he stressed.
"It should not be forgotten that Russia did not take any mirror measures in December, as it proceeded from the considerations that the previous presidential administration was completing its term, and Moscow hoped that the new administration would develop Russian-American relations in a positive key. But now it's been more than six months, but the situation is frozen. I think that the Russian side quite rightly reminded that it is ready to take its possible retaliatory measures. We'll see if this works," Yury Rogulev said.
The Director of the Institute of Strategic Planning and Forecasting, Professor Alexander Gusev, in turn, drew attention to the fact that the expulsion of diplomats will soon cease to be an urgent response due to the completion of the term of the US ambassador to Russia, John Tefft. "Of course, such demarches must be answered immediately, but in December, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that we will not going to bring ourselves down to the level of 'kitchen' diplomacy. The same thing that is being said about mirror measures is more like a stone thrown into a departed steamer, because Tefft will complete his diplomatic mission in Russia soon, and the entire team will be replaced with the new ambassador," he explained.
In his estimation, it could be an implementation of one of the agreements reached by Presidents Putin and Trump during their talks in Hamburg. "These actions were not carried out by Trump, therefore, most likely, the diplomats which will be appointed by the new American authorities will not be deported. Perhaps Trump and Putin had such an arrangement, they will only deport 30 Obama diplomats. As for our property, the Americans have already said that they will return it with one reservation: diplomatic immunity will be removed from these facilities .If Americans withdraw arrest from our property in New York and Maryland, then, most likely, we will take no measures. If they do not, then one of the US diplomatic missions and the storage facilities in Moscow, which are used by their embassy, can be arrested," Alexander Gusev concluded.