Russia is ready to expel about 30 USA diplomats and seize U.S. state property in retaliation for Washington's sanctions, Russian officials say.
If President Trump hands back the Russian diplomatic compounds seized by President Obama previous year, he will cement his image of Kremlin stooge in the eyes of his opponents.
Sources in the Russian Foreign Ministry say Moscow may finally expel some 30 American diplomats in retaliation for a similar measure adopted in the previous United States administration.
Lavrov declined to elaborate on what steps the Kremlin might take against the U.S mission, but Russian media reported Tuesday that officials are considering expelling 30 US diplomats and seizing embassy property, according to NPR's Moscow correspondent Lucian Kim.
According to the newspaper, Russian officials had hoped that President Trump would reverse his predecessor's decision after settling into office, but those hopes have begun to wane.
The sources speaking to Izvestia said patience had run out after Mr Putin failed to find agreement on the issue during his meeting with Mr Trump last week.
In the meantime, Ryabkov told reporters that the longer the USA delays, the more likely it is that Moscow will deliver a "tough response". Russian Federation immediately denounced the sanctions as unlawful and threatened to retaliate. That could complicate what Mr Trump says he wants to achieve: better relations with Russian Federation.
He continued: "If this is not the case, if Washington decides not to solve this issue, we will have to take counter actions". Obama also imposed new rounds of sanctions on Russian individuals and entities, piling more pressure on a government in Moscow, which had already been slapped with bans and boycotts over the crisis in Ukraine.
The move provoked an angry reaction in Moscow, which believes the diplomatic compounds in NY and Maryland had diplomatic immunity and were thus confiscated in violation of the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations.
Quoting a Foreign Ministry source, the Izvestiya newspaper says the move is due to the failure to reach an agreement on two Russian diplomatic compounds in the United States seized by the outgoing Obama administration in December previous year.
Russian Federation says President Trump presented "no plan to resolve the crisis" when the issue was raised in Hamburg. The US ambassador's residence, Spaso House, and the embassy school in St. Petersburg are likely to be left unaffected, however.
"There is a preliminary agreement on holding a meeting between Russian Deputy Prime Minister Sergey Ryabkov and U.S. under Secretary of State Thomas Shannon in St. Petersburg".
The US and its Western allies have also imposed wide-ranging sanctions on Russian Federation because of Moscow's role in the Ukraine conflict.