Moscow's patience running out in diplomatic row with US

Vladimir Putin

Senate Democrats Minority Leader Charles Schumer of New York, Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, Senate Foreign Relations Committee ranking Democrat Ben Cardin of Maryland, and Chris Van Hollen of Maryland, have sent a letter to Shannon telling him they "strongly oppose" any move to hand the two diplomatic compounds back over to Russian Federation.

"One of the easy options", she said, would be to demand a reduction in the number of Americans assigned to the U.S. Embassy in Moscow, which she said far exceeds the number of Russians in Washington.

Ms. Zakharova said Russian Federation hoped to hear "concrete proposals" on how to untangle the situation at a meeting on Monday between Sergei A. Ryabkov, the deputy foreign minister of Russian Federation, and Thomas A. Shannon, the under secretary of state of the United States.

The Kremlin said on Wednesday Moscow's patience was running out in its diplomatic row with the United States that seized Russia's diplomatic property in the US and expelled Russian diplomats in 2016.

The issue was also addressed by Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, who said at a joint news conference with European diplomacy chief Federica Mogherini on Tuesday that Moscow is "outraged" over the fact that Washington has not yet resolved the situation with Russian diplomatic property in the U.S., adding that Moscow is working out its response to the US' actions.

Speaking on Friday, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Zakharova said Russia was eady to significantly reduce the number of personnel at the US Embassy in Moscow as a response to the seizure of its diplomatic property in the United States.

"We expect that now, after the summit in Hamburg on July 7, the USA side will show a more constructive approach", Zakharova surmised.

Trump's positive comments about Russian leader Putin both before and after he assumed office as President of the United States have caused additional concerns. "The number of staff at the US embassy in Moscow exceeds the number of our embassy employees in Washington by a big margin".

Speaking at a news briefing on Friday, the Kremlin's spokesman, Dmitri S. Peskov, said that Mr. Putin had not yet made a decision on the fate of the American diplomats.

Russian President Vladimir Putin decided not to immediately retaliate over the expulsions and property seizure, saying he would wait to see what the Trump administration would do.

She said Russia was planning possible retaliation for the December expulsion of 35 Russian diplomats.

"If our American partners do not understand it in a different way, at some point we will have to take steps in this direction".



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