Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia's answer to a media question
Q: The USA has agreed to new harsh sanctions against Russia yesterday, and Moscow has just issued a response in a form of cutting the number of American diplomats working in Russia. Can you comment on the escalation and how much you expect this to complicate your work?
V.Nebenzia: It has been commented already by the Foreign Ministry in the press statement. You know that we did not do it out of the blue. It was a response to the previous Administration’s measures that were taken on the eve of 2017 when the United States sent out 35 Russian diplomats, and basically robbed us of our property which belongs to us legally. We demonstrated restraint and waited for a long time explaining to our US colleagues that we cannot tolerate this situation forever. Now with the adoption by the US Congress of a draft bill which legitimizes in particular the seizure of our property we have no choice but to reciprocate. That’s a common practice in diplomacy, but we were trying to refrain from this for a long time enough to allow our American partners to rectify the situation. Unfortunately, it did not happen.