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Russia: Lavrov proposes expulsion of 35 US diplomats in response to US sanctions

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Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov outlined the Foreign Ministry's proposed response to the US sanctions against Russia, from Moscow on Friday.

SOT, Sergei Lavrov, Foreign Minister of Russia (Russian): "The outgoing US administration of Barack Obama that accuses Russia of all mortal sins and also attempts to blame us for the failure of its foreign policy initiatives, as you know, has groundlessly accused Russia, at the state level, of interfering in the electoral campaign in the United States as a result of which the Democratic candidate was defeated. And yesterday, the US administration, without giving any facts or proof, announced a new wave of sanctions against the Russian Federation. The Federal Security Service, a number of other Russian agencies and individuals are under the sanctions that also affect our diplomats. Thirty-five people who work in Washington and San Francisco, 31 in Washington and four in San Francisco, must leave the US before the end of the day on January 1. In addition, we are forbidden from using property that belongs to the Russian Federation, one compound for the rest of our staff in Washington and the second compound for the rest of our staff in the Permanent Representative of Russia to the United Nations. Well, the manners of the US administration are quite obvious. In both cases, the compounds were meant to let children rest there during the winter holidays; traditionally camps have been opened there and these compounds have been declared as 'spy nests,' as I understood according to the statements of the US administration. We, of course, cannot leave these tricks unanswered. Reciprocity is the law of diplomacy and foreign relations. This is why the Russian Foreign Ministry along with our colleagues from other departments, have brought up a proposal for the President of the Russian Federation to declare persona non grata 31 employee of the US embassy in Moscow and four diplomats from the US Consulate-General in St. Petersburg. Also we issued a proposal to prohibit the Americans from using their compound in Serebryany Bor and a warehouse located at the Dorozhnaya street. We hope that these suggestions will be considered without delay."

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