Lavrov Says Moscow Ready to Go to Court Over Seizure of Diplomatic Property

© AFP 2023 / Josh EdelsonThe Russian flag flies at half mast at the Consulate-General of Russia in San Francisco, California (File)
The Russian flag flies at half mast at the Consulate-General of Russia in San Francisco, California (File) - Sputnik International
Sergei Lavrov told his US counterpart Tillerson in a phone conversation that US authorities' seizure of Russia's diplomatic property in the country is a flagrant violation of international law. The phone talks came few days after the US law enforcement agencies conducting searches in a Russian Trade Representation building in Washington.

MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said in a telephone conversation with US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson that Moscow is ready to bring the issue of Russian diplomatic property seizure to court, the Russian Foreign Ministry said Tuesday.

"When discussing the situation in bilateral relations, Sergey Lavrov pointed out that the seizure of the Russian diplomatic property by the US authorities in the United States was a flagrant violation of international legal norms. The minister drew the attention of the secretary of state to the statement of Russian President Vladimir Putin, made at a press conference following the BRICS summit in Xiamen, about the intention of our country to launch legal procedures in relation to the unlawful actions of Washington," the ministry said.

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Earlier in the day, Putin said he would instruct the Foreign Ministry to go to court over the situation with the Russian diplomatic property in the United States.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov was asked to comment on the statement. He said that it is up to the Russian Foreign Ministry to determine in which court Russia will file a suit with against the United States over diplomatic property.

"The exact court will be determined by the Russian Foreign Ministry, as you know Foreign Minister Lavrov was tasked with this online," Peskov said.

Lavrov's promise to file a lawsuit over US actions with regard to the Russian diplomatic property in the US came several days after the Russian Trade Representation building in Washington, DC, was searched by US law enforcement agencies, described by Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova as the day when was "a black day in the history of US democracy." The diplomat also expressed her indignation, saying that US law enforcement agencies were looking for explosive devices in the compounds, which, in her opinion, was an unjustified move driven by several years of anti-Russian rhetoric, peddled in the United States.

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The US State Department said last Thursday that Washington demanded that Moscow close down its consulate general in San Francisco and two other diplomatic entities in New York City and Washington, DC by Saturday.

A few days later, the US conducted searches in the buildings of the Russian General Consulate in San Francisco and its trade mission in Washington. Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov commented on the move saying that the searches conducted by the United States at the Russian diplomatic properties on US soil are outrageous and constitute aggressive violations of international law.

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