"Time Is Running Out": Russia Warns It May Expel "35 CIA Spies" In Retaliation

Repeating what Russian diplomats said informally at the start of the week, the Russian foreign ministry said on Friday that "too many American spies operated in Moscow" under diplomatic cover and warned it might expel some of them to retaliate against Washington's December 2016 expulsion of 35 Russian diplomats. The warning, delivered by Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova, reflects the growing frustration in Moscow over the Trump administration's refusal to hand back two Russian diplomatic compounds which were seized at the same time as the Russian diplomats were sent home.

“The seized objects have not been returned. Washington has not only failed to cancel the decision to expel our employees, but also refuses to issue visas to those who are to replace them,” Zakharova said and  added that at least Washington could have given access to Russian diplomats to the compounds while the issue is stalled.

As a reminder, then-president Barack Obama ordered the expulsion of 35 suspected Russian spies in December, along with the seizure of the two Russian diplomatic compounds in retaliation to what he said was the hacking of the DNC and the Podesta email account during the 2016 presidential election, a topic which has since plagued the Trump administration. While Putin decided not to respond in kind at the time, saying he would wait to see what the new administration of Donald Trump would do, relations between the US and Russia have deteriorated further since, prompting the more aggressive tone by Russia.


Killenworth, an estate built in 1913 for George du Pont Pratt in Glen Cove, Long

Island, and purchased by the former USSR in the 1950's

So what may happen next?

"We have a way of retaliating," Zakharaova said pointing out that "the number of staff at the U.S. embassy in Moscow exceeds the number of our embassy employees in Washington by a big margin. One of our options, apart from a tit-for-tat expulsion of Americans, would be to even out the numbers." Russia could also deny US diplomats use of a dacha compound and a warehouse in Moscow, she made clear.

She also took a swipe at the ongoing Russian collusion drama in the US, saying "there are too many employees of the CIA and the Pentagon's espionage unit working under the roof of the American diplomatic mission whose activity does not correspond at all with their status."

If there was no movement in the U.S.-Russia dispute soon, she warned Moscow would have to reluctantly retaliate. She also said that Moscow did not react immediately in December as it considered the Obama administration move as “provocative” and an attempt to disrupt bilateral relations under the new authorities. Zakharaova did not elaborate when Moscow would take retaliatory measures, and instead put the ball in the US court, saying that  "there is no precise deadline. Everything depends on the reaction of the U.S. side, its concrete actions, and on the results of the consultations which will now take place in Washington." But she did say that "time is running out."

 "For now we have the date of consultations on the issue and a clear position that time is running out,” she said."We don't want to resort to extreme measures. (But) if it's the only way to make our American partners understand we will have to act." Zakharova stressed that the US had enough time to deal with the “disgusting legacy and to start building relations based on mutual respect,” but still nothing has changed.

* * *

Her statement came one day after President Trump’s assistant, Sebastian Gorka, said in an interview on CNN that the compounds may be handed back to Russia if the US sees “acts of good faith” from the Kremlin, similar to the recently-brokered ceasefire in Syria.

In response, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that Moscow will not negotiate any conditions to get the diplomatic property back, as the situation is “unacceptable” and the seizure violates international law.

“Taking the diplomatic property back to Russia cannot and should not be conditional on anything, it vehemently violates international law,” Peskov said.

“So far the head of state, who determines Russian foreign policy principles, has not taken any decisions. However, we have repeatedly stressed that the situation with the diplomats, the diplomatic property continues to be unacceptable,” the Kremlin spokesman stated, adding that it “is a serious test of Russia’s patience.”

Earlier, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov condemned the unresolved situation with the Russian diplomatic property, calling it “shameful.” Lavrov also mentioned that Russia is preparing retaliatory measures, while Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov warned that if Washington continues to drag its feet on the issue, there will be a “tough response.”

Comments

CrazyCooter Looney Fri, 07/14/2017 - 13:59 Permalink

Oh - this is interesting, particularly because of the timing.Trump meets with Putin - uses Obama's action to clean out the deep state pecker heads currently operating in Russia. Vlad sends em home. Trump picks up the phone, works out a deal, puts his people in their places.They might even escalate it a bit - get more bang for their buck (i.e. back/forth removals before a larger re-filling).Regards,Cooter

In reply to by Looney

Dilluminati 38BWD22 Fri, 07/14/2017 - 14:08 Permalink

I see it as two different issues:1.) One sore butt syndrome of the democrats and I laugh at them, sore losers2.) vetting process which I think if the reports are true Jr. broke the law a.) You sign an affidavit that YOU COMPLETED the form and that it is accurate not a staffer b.) You agreed to disclose all meetings as outlined in the affidavitLook I'm an independent and voted Trump, donated to Trump, but always called Hillary the ridiculous criminal cunt that she is!  And really Huma and that whole Server thing?  That broke the damn law also and so did Comey, I'm just pointing out that truth.  Clinton Foundation? Read http://charlesortel.com/On the meeting during the election and interfering, well the UK angle and Christopher Steele are effectively the same thingI'd like to see the staffer who sent the e-qip alos lose their clearance under misrepresenting the affidavit..  Get some humility and get honest and NOBODY forced anyone to sign any application for security clearances, no arm was twisted, so if you lie I have like zero fucking sympathy for that individual.Spy tells a lie that's their jobThey get caught?? Well they was spying.

In reply to by 38BWD22

AmadausVoltaire (not verified) 38BWD22 Fri, 07/14/2017 - 19:41 Permalink

We should do that! Boot out all the CIA, NSA, blah blah blay, alphabet soup agencies! MAGA!After WW2 the OSS morphed into the CIA after we absorbed the Nazi intelligence apparatus, along with the absorbtion of scientists into NASA. 

In reply to by 38BWD22

Mike Masr Fri, 07/14/2017 - 13:58 Permalink

Russia is so evil and Putin is Satan incarnate say our congressional leaders...then why doesn't the evil one (sarc) in Moscow stop ferrying American astronauts to the International Space Station?  

Deep In Vocal … (not verified) Fri, 07/14/2017 - 14:01 Permalink

it's only gonna end one way. the human being is an unstable, unreliable, disloyal, dishonored creature. nukes will fly, economy will collapse, social strife...divided slaves of usa with israle and saudi pulling the strings. this human experiment must come to an end. the human must be stopped.

Swamp Yankee Fri, 07/14/2017 - 14:02 Permalink

They know they are CIA and they are still there now?  Wait, what? How about for every Yankee they kick out they also send at least one gymnast, model or singer? Deal?  Awesome-ski!  Lets get vodka! Now what does Boris think? bee tee dubs I would hit that.

Bloomberg2016 Fri, 07/14/2017 - 14:03 Permalink

I'm waiting for ZH to be lumped in with Brietbart and Info Wars as part of the 2016 election disinfomration campaign. What's ZH gonna say when Trump resigns?  Might as well just update the URL to zerohedge.rt.com

Deep In Vocal … (not verified) Bloomberg2016 Fri, 07/14/2017 - 14:06 Permalink

zerohedge has been one of the better places when it comes to reporting fairly to be fair. they critize trump when he should get it. infoowars, breitbart? just more of the same mind control program. but they can't fool me..i see the games on both sides....same tactics are being used..left right left right...uh uh...im not having it... god, i want to punch that zionist shill donnie operator, Alex Jones, so fucking hard in the mouth. god damn I hate that evil SOB and deceiver.

In reply to by Bloomberg2016

Money_for_Nothing Bloomberg2016 Fri, 07/14/2017 - 14:10 Permalink

What's ZH gonna say when Trump resigns? I did not sleep with that woman? That Miss Lewinsky. I just used her as a humidor and a dickwasher.

All Trump has to do is cut 100 deals and he can't be removed from office. John Glenn was cheap. Oldest man-in-space. Schumer could be appointed Fed Chairman. Cruz to the Supreme Court. McCain could be made honorary President for a day or given an east coast beer monopoly.

In reply to by Bloomberg2016

Money_for_Nothing Fri, 07/14/2017 - 14:04 Permalink

Why would President Trump care? The seized property in America is much more valuable than any property the Russians could seize. Kicking President Trump's enemies out of Russia is a fine idea. The CIA is actively trying to remove President Trump and the Pentagon seems to be lukewarm toward him.

Russian President Putin has no leverage.

BritBob Fri, 07/14/2017 - 14:04 Permalink

Ruskies aren't honest brokers.Russia tells Britain give back Gibraltar & Falklands before telling US what to do.RUSSIA has told Britain it should "clean its conscience" and give back Gibraltar and the Falkland Islands before it criticises them over their involvement in Ukraine. Moscow's ambassador to the UN, Vitaly Churkin made the shocking remarks when responding to his British counterpart Matthew Rycroft at a UN security council meeting in New York. (Daily Express 4 Feb 2017) Do the Spanish have a claim to the Rock? Gibraltar - Some Relevant International Law: https://www.academia.edu/10575180/Gibraltar_-_Some_Relevant_Internationa...Perhaps not.Funny thing to say when Argentina has never legally owned the Falklands. So how can they 'be returned' ?Falklands- Never Belonged to Argentina: https://www.academia.edu/31111843/Falklands_Never_Belonged_to_Argentina