4, September 2017
Moscow has blasted Washington’s recent crackdown on its diplomatic facilities on US soil as “state hooliganism.” Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of a BRICS summit in China, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said, “I am inclined to call what is happening state hooliganism.”
Washington seized control over three Russian diplomatic posts in the US on Saturday amid strong protests by Moscow. The US move to shut down Russia’s consulate post in San Francisco along with two trade posts in Washington and New York came in retaliation for Moscow’s last month decision to significantly reduce American diplomatic staff in Russia.
Russia slammed Washington’s crackdown on its diplomatic missions as a violation of international law. The Russian Foreign Ministry also summoned a US diplomat in Moscow to protest Washington’s measures. On Friday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Moscow would respond harshly to any US measure designed to hurt his country.
The diplomatic standoff between the two sides first broke out last December, when the outgoing Washington administration expelled 35 Russian diplomats in retaliation for yet unsubstantiated Russian interference in the US electoral process.
Moscow did not respond in kind back then, reportedly for having received signals that the incoming administration of President Donald Trump would be more favorable towards Russia.
While Trump himself has been perceived as open toward warmer relations with Russia, the US Congress slapped more bans on Russia over the alleged election interference, prompting Moscow to order a significant cut in the number of US diplomatic staff last month.