Russia Sues US for Return of Its Diplomatic Properties
by Stephen Lendman (stephenlendman.org – Home – Stephen Lendman)
Last December, the Obama administration illegally seized Russian compounds in Maryland and New York – along with irresponsibly expelling 35 of its diplomats.
At the time, Sergey Lavrov said “Obama accusing Russia of all mortal sins, trying to blame us for the failure of its foreign policy initiatives, among other things, has put forward additional accusations without any grounds whatsoever that the Russian state was behind attempts to meddle in the US election campaign, which led to (Hillary’s) defeat…”
“(W)ithout providing any facts or evidence…a new wave of sanctions” was imposed.
In late August, Washington ordered the closure, seizure and inspections of Russia’s San Francisco consulate and other diplomatic properties in Washington and New York – flagrantly violating the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations.
Moscow protested its unacceptable actions to no avail. Lavrov commented, saying “(w)e are now studying the conditions in which American foreign missions in Russia and Russian foreign missions in the US are operating, and will make these conditions totally equal.”
In early September, Vladimir Putin said he’d order Russia’s Foreign Ministry to sue Washington in a US court over the illegal seizure of its diplomatic properties.
Days later, Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov indicated work on the lawsuit began, explaining court action would follow.
On Monday, Lavrov told Rex Tillerson that Moscow demands return of its illegally seized diplomatic properties, a Foreign Ministry statement saying:
“Russia reserves the right to undertake legal action and retaliatory measures.”
On Tuesday, Russia’s Justice Minister Alexander Konovalov said legal action against Washington is coming.
“This is the purview of the Foreign Ministry,” he explained. Our interests are represented by White & Case. They have a rich history. They helped Russia by representing its interests in the Yukos case.”
In mid-September, Russian Lawyers Guild president Gasan Mirzoyev said “there are grounds for studying and satisfying the claim in favor of the Russian Federation because our interests and rights were violated.”
“Illegal seizure of property belonging to the Russian Federation occurred. I don’t see any legal grounds for this case to be declined by the American court.”
Russia’s case is legally solid. Yet nothing is certain because of its dismal relationship to the West, especially America – through no fault of its own.
It’s uncertain if an open and shut case will go its way – given how disgracefully it’s treated.
Even if it wins in court and on appeal, Washington might ignore the rulings because of deplorable bilateral relations – worsening, not improving.
My newest book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”
Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.