US Decision on Russian Diplomatic Property 'Illegal Seizure' - Putin's Aide

© AFP 2023 / Josh EdelsonPeople walk past the Consulate-General of Russia in San Francisco, California on December 29, 2016
People walk past the Consulate-General of Russia in San Francisco, California on December 29, 2016 - Sputnik International
Washington's move to shut down diplomatic facilities of Russia in the United States looks like illegal seizure, Vladimir Putin's aide said.

MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Russia lost five diplomatic property facilities in the United States, which looks like illegal seizure, Kremlin aide Yury Ushakov told reporters Friday at a briefing.

"Now the Americans are taking property again, closing consulates. That is, five facilities… that we owned, were taken away by the Americans. Five facilities that were protected by diplomatic immunity," Ushakov said.

He said that in addition, a trade mission office in New York, which was rented, came under restrictions too.

"That is, overall, six facilities were taken away, five are our property, one is rent. Looks like an illegal seizure," Ushakov said.

On Thursday, the US Department of State demanded that the Russian government close its Consulate General in San Francisco, a chancery annex in Washington, DC, and a consular annex in New York City by September 2, in what it called "the spirit of parity invoked by the Russians."

"They are closing trade missions, what is this? Readiness to develop trade and economic relations, or what? … The signal is not the one of development of relations, the signal is the one of continuing to drown them," Ushakov said.

The two countries exchanged punitive diplomatic measures earlier: the US has reduced the size of its staff at the US Embassy in Russia by 455 people as instructed by Moscow in July as a response to the 2016 expulsion of 35 Russian diplomats from the US and the seizure of Russian diplomatic property.

“The US administration continues ruining bilateral relations, maybe without even thinking about the consequences not only four our country, for the two nations, but also about the consequences for international stability as a whole. This can only cause regret, chagrin and other feelings of the kind,” he said.

Washington imposed the first batch of restrictions on Moscow in 2014 on the pretext of Crimea's reunification with Russia and the Donbass war between the West-backed government in Kiev, which came to power as a result of a coup, and local breakaway republics which rejected the legitimacy of the new leadership.

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