Moscow is working out retaliatory measures in response to the U.S. seizure of Russia’s diplomatic property, but does not consider it necessary to comment on them publicly, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Tuesday.
Earlier Tuesday, the Izvestia newspaper reported on its website citing a source in the Russian Foreign Ministry that Moscow planned to expel about 30 U.S. diplomats and seize several items of U.S. property in Russia.
It also said the Russian side had been forced to adopt such measures by Washington’s decision not to return the Russian embassy property, which had been seized in December 2016.
“Naturally, we will work for the truth to prevail, justice and international law must be restored.
“We are thinking about specific steps now, and I do not think we need to publicly discuss this, with all due respect to the media,” Lavrov told reporters.
In December 2016, former U.S. President Barack Obama’s administration approved a sanctions package against Russia due to its alleged interference in the U.S. elections.
Russia denies meddling in the vote, insisting that it does not interfere in the internal affairs of other countries.
The measures included barring access to two diplomatic compounds in use by the Russian Embassy in Washington and Russia’s Permanent Mission to the UN in New York.
The two compounds were closed down over Russia’s alleged interference in the U.S. presidential election, which Moscow has repeatedly denied.
At the same time, 35 Russian diplomats were expelled from the U.S.
It was reported that on July 7, three U.S. senators warned President Donald Trump against making any deal with Russian President Vladimir Putin to return two seized Russian diplomatic compounds.
Senators Jeanne Shaheen, Marco Rubio and Johnny Iakson gave the warning in their letter to Trump.
“The return of these two facilities to Russia while the Kremlin refuses to address its influence campaign against the U.S. would embolden President Vladimir Putin and invite a dangerous escalation in the Kremlin’s destabilising actions against democracies worldwide,” they said.
The senators wrote their letter ahead of a scheduled face-to-face meeting between Putin and Trump on Friday on the sidelines of the G20 Summit in Hamburg.
Senior Trump administration officials have said that the two leaders could discuss the return of the two diplomatic compounds in the U.S. states of New York and Maryland.
The three senators urged Trump to “remove the return of these facilities from any negotiation or consideration in your discussions with President Putin during your upcoming trip.”