Moscow Plans to Strip US Diplomats of 'Additional Bonuses'

The Russian Deputy Foreign Minister spoke about the prospects of the US returning seized Russian diplomatic property and Russia's response to the controversial move following talks with a US State Department high-ranking official more than a week after the US law enforcement conducted searches inside the diplomatic facilities.

HELSINKI (Sputnik) — Moscow is planning to strip US diplomats of some "additional bonuses" they enjoyed while working in Russia, but means just to even the working conditions of the US and Russian diplomats in both countries rather than to further escalate the situation, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov said on Tuesday.

"It is rather normalizing the situation in terms of the US diplomats losing some additional bonuses or some preferences they enjoyed for some time. But after their harsh steps, harsh measures against our overseas missions it became impossible to maintain such a situation," Ryabkov told reporters.

He added that he had explained the situation to US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Thomas Shannon during their meeting in the Finland’s capital of Helsinki earlier in the day.

"We do not wish to turn this into a reason for another outbreak of emotions and arguments," Ryabkov stressed.

When commenting on the issue of seized Russian property, Ryabkov said that Moscow regrets the lack of prospects of Washington returning Russian diplomatic buildings seized on US soil.

"Unfortunately, I do not see any prospects of settling the problem with the return of the diplomatic property to us," Ryabkov said.

Russia could file a lawsuit against the United States over seizure of its diplomatic property within the coming weeks, he said, commenting on the decision made by Russian President Vladimir Putin last week.

"We will try to literally make it in hot pursuit. But there is no specific schedule of action yet. Generally speaking, we are still on a starting point in terms of choosing the arguments and analyzing which way we should better move, but we will not delay this process in any way," Ryabkov said.

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