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Russian Federation is threatening to expel dozens of U.S. diplomats

Russian Federation is threatening to expel dozens of U.S. diplomats

In December 2016, the administration of former US President Barack Obama imposed a set of punitive measures against Russia, including the expulsion of 35 Russian diplomats and the closure of the two Russian diplomatic compounds.

Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov is threatening "counter actions" against the United States over a pair of Russian diplomatic compounds seized by the United States past year.

The threat came from Russian foreign ministry sources, quoted by the daily Izvestia.

The U.S. authorities seized two Russian diplomatic compounds, one in Maryland and another on Long Island, at the same time. The issue of the Russian diplomatic compounds was also raised at the Putin-Trump meeting in Hamburg, according to the Russian press reports. The latest threat - via a foreign ministry source in a pro-Kremlin newspaper - may be created to increase the pressure on Washington, ahead of US-Russia talks on the issue.

The measures were a response to alleged Russian meddling in the United States election.

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Izvestiya previously reported that Russian Federation was considering taking an official USA embassy residence and a US -owned warehouse in Moscow if the issue were not resolved.

Russia would carry out the threat if no compromise was reached at a St Petersburg meeting later this month between Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov and US Under Secretary of State Thomas Shannon, Izvestia reported.

Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov told Sputnik that Russian Federation has already prepared a "tough" response to the United States' seizure of its diplomatic property in NY and Maryland.

"We are forced to draw a line and answer in a similar way", Klimov told Izvestiya. The US ambassador's residence, Spaso House, and the embassy school in St. Petersburg are likely to be left unaffected, however.

"The return of these two facilities to Russian Federation while the Kremlin refuses to address its influence campaign against the United States would embolden President Vladimir Putin and invite a unsafe escalation in the Kremlin's destabilizing actions against democracies worldwide", read the letter signed by Senators Marco Rubio (R-Florida), Jeanne Shaheen (D-New Hampshire) and Johnny Isakson (R-Georgia), as cited by AP.

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