Will Russia seize US assets?

Will Russia seize US assets?

Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova warned that Russia will adopt a mirror response to the US, which seized Russian diplomatic property illegally.

"The Russian position on actually seized Russia's property in the US is well known," she noted. "We consider the US authorities' actions to be absolutely unacceptable," the spokesperson said, noting that "they grossly violate the provisions of the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations."

Zakharova stressed that Russia demands to immediately return "what was illegally taken away." "If Washington does not resume the diplomatic immunity of our property, we will adopt a mirror response towards the US objects in Russia," the official representative said. "The US Embassy in Moscow has already been warned," she recalled. 

The deputy head of the Council of the Russian Diplomats Association, Andrey Baklanov, speaking to Vestnik Kavkaza, expressed hope that the situation will not reach the level of mirror responses. "Maria Zakharova's demand is the minimum rules of respect in diplomacy. First, detailed bilateral negotiations are conducted before taking any measures related to property. Second, the content of such negotiations is never disclosed to a third party, especially the media," he pointed out.

"Our American colleagues have violated this established diplomatic practice on all tracks and created a very unpleasant precedent for international and interstate relations. I take Zakharova's statement  as another attempt to make the US colleagues to return to the generally accepted system of doing business. I would not talk about a mirror response now, because there is still hope that the US colleagues will take Maria Zakharova's statement seriously and take adequate measures," Andrei Baklanov expressed hope.

The diplomat explained that the US had two reasons to violate international practice. "The first moment is an anti-Russian hysteria. The second point is connected, perhaps, with the fact that, as we are increasingly convinced, there is amateurism among the establishment. Therefore, an ideological anti-Russian sentiment and a low level of professionalism create such precedents that have not existed for a long time," the deputy head of the Council of the Russian Diplomats Association concluded.

A senior research fellow at the European Research Centre of the International Relations Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Vladimir Olenchenko, suggested that by this statement the Russian Foreign Ministry is proposing a new Washington to correct the error of the Obama administration. "The basic principle of international activity is the principle of mutual courtesy. In December, Russia's using of its diplomatic compounds the US was blocked. The US Embassy has similar property in Russia, ​​including the US Ambassador's Spaso House. The second such property is the US Embassy's vacation house in Serebryany Bor," the expert recalled.

"I think if the US side drags on the restoration of Russia's rights to use its property, we will take similar measures. It is clear that there are other assets that could be used as mirror measures to encourage the Americans to solve the problem, which they created themselves," Vladimir Olenchenko said.