Russia reserves the right to cut further the number of U.S. diplomatic staff in Moscow, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday, in response to what he called Washington’s “boorish” treatment of Russia’s diplomatic mission on U.S. soil.
Speaking after U.S. officials ordered Russia to vacate diplomatic premises in several American cities, Putin said he would order the Russian foreign ministry to take legal action over alleged violations of Russia’s property rights.
“That the Americans reduced the number of our diplomatic facilities - this is their right,” Putin told a news conference in the Chinese city of Xiamen, where he was attending a summit of major emerging economies.
|Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“The only thing is that it was done in such a clearly boorish manner. That does not reflect well on our American partners. But it’s difficult to conduct a dialogue with people who confuse Austria and Australia. Nothing can be done about it. Probably such is the level of political culture of a certain part of the U.S. establishment.”
“As for our buildings and facilities, this is an unprecedented thing,” Putin said. “This is a clear violation of Russia’s property rights. Therefore, for a start, I will order the Foreign Ministry to go to court - and let’s see just how efficient the much-praised U.S. judiciary is.”
A U.S. State Department official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Washington hoped to avoid further retaliatory actions with Moscow, but was “confident in the legality” of the consular closure and restrictions ordered last week.
U.S. President Donald Trump took office in January, saying he wanted to improve ties with Russia. Putin also spoke favorably of Trump.Reuters