Russia’s request for return of seized diplomatic properties to protect staff against Covid-19 ignored by US – Moscow
“When the New York State governor declared the state of emergency due to the Covid-19 pandemic, we asked to return said property so our personnel could use it to lower the risks stemming from to the spread of the coronavirus,” Russia’s deputy envoy to the UN, Gennady Kuzmin, said.
Kuzmin noted that Moscow had hoped that “humanitarian reasons… would trump political motives,” but the US ignored the request.
The US seized control over three Russian diplomatic posts in New York, DC, and San Francisco in 2017, after ordering Moscow to vacate the buildings. Moscow slammed the move as hostile and illegal under international law.
The incident took place at the height of US-Russian tensions, as American politicians were accusing Moscow of election meddling and imposing new sanctions against the country. In late 2016, the US expelled 35 Russian diplomats, and ordered two Russian diplomatic compounds to be closed down. In the following year, Moscow ordered Washington to recall some 750 of its diplomats from Russia in order to bring their number down to the number of Russian diplomats stationed in the US.
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