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

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Originally appeared at ZeroHedge

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.

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

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.

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

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.”

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  • Анрэс Суарэс

    If you give the hand to the USA they take the leg. Always. For them is “bussiness as usual”. That’s why no one should give them a hand, never.

  • Alex

    Expel them all, just leave some personel at the visa department, lol.

  • Barba_Papa

    Methinks the only acknowledged acts of good faith Washington will recognize are along the lines of returning the Crimea to Ukraine, abandoning the rebels there and handing over Syria and Iran to the US on a silver platter. Followed by Putin kneeling down in front of Trump and kissing his Imperial pinky ring.

    Its hard to reach an agreement when the other side basically accepts nothing but a full surrender.

  • Harry11

    If Russia is allowing spies to run around Russia, then the Russians are more stupid then I thought.

    • BL

      Putin didn’t finish the job he started when he expelled some of the kike oligarchs who were destroying Russia post USSR collapse. He allowed many of them to remain as long as they “stayed out of politics” and still retains good relationships with the center of the cancer (ISIS-RA-HELL) while pushing the Holohoax lie. All of this indicates that Russia intentionally didn’t go all the way with the transformation, possibly due to a naive hope that they could somehow work the the devil. Paul Craig Roberts has been tearing his hairs out in frustration trying to warn Russia and Putin of their grave mistake.

  • MeThinks

    Respected RF Ambassador Churkin refered to it disgustingly as the USA targeting the children of diplomats

  • MeThinks

    dont forget the spies empoyed at CNN

  • Real Anti-Racist Action

    Talk talk talk, so cheap.
    Just do it Russia, just do it.
    Put hit-men on these Zionist terrorist who are employed by AIPAC

    • Taraakenyon

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      On tuesday I got a great new Land Rover Range Rover from having earned $8752 this last four weeks.. Its the most-financialy rewarding I’ve had.. It sounds unbelievable but you wont forgive yourself if you don’t check it
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  • Tudor Miron

    My way or no way. That’s the way US establishment is thinking. I’m wondering when those consultations should have place and when the time will come to expel US spys undercover of diplomatic status and take away compearable diplomatic US property. What a classless state… really, cultural level of US establishment is below par.

    • goingbrokes

      The US elites are incredibly arrogant, spiteful, hateful, and they feel there will never be any consequences. They feel all powerful and that makes them incredibly stupid, well below what we would consider normal. They think that humiliating others is really cool as part of diplomacy. It is an indication of to what extent the US government apparatus has been hijacked by a criminal class. The situation is not only dreadfully out of control, but things are done daily which bear no resemblance to a rational government. We need to start praying, and exposing the scumbags and their schemes.
      (P.S. The saying is “my way or highway!”, but otherwise your english is excellent. ) ;)

  • spinworthy .

    Judged by its actions throughout its history, the USA can be very conservatively characterised as being an aggressive nation, an offensive rather than a defensive ‘player’. On the other hand, Russia which has a much longer history, can be predominantly characterised as a defensive power. It should be noted however, that the USSR although maintaining a veneer of ideological empire, obviously did not have aggressive expansionism at the core of its being, as is evidenced by its rapid, near total self-disassembly upon collapse of the state system.
    America has never been shy regarding its aggression and lawlessness, and have always (for purposes of deniability) used fabricated justifications to trigger their preplanned designs. This case is no different. The US likes to – as American jocks say – put it, “in your face”.
    The Russians, have a very different method of acting upon and communicating their responses. They usually don’t announce, the where’s, when’s, and how’s, although are not shy to discuss the why’s. This case supports this analysis.
    Oh, another thing about the Russians, when they do hit back, chances are it will definitely hurt, and you will never hear about it.

  • Gabriel Hollows

    Bunch of cucks these Ruskies, everything they do to defend themselves is done ‘reluctantly’ despite having both valid reasons and the power to do so.

  • Pave Way IV

    Expel CIA agents? HEY Russia… that’s anti-Semetic!

  • Thegr8rambino

    russia should give the US an ultimatum, and if they dont budge, just retake those compounds and any other property that belonged to them by force. ENOUGH TALK!!!

    • Tommy Jensen

      I would drop the Tsar bomb if these properties are not back within 8 days.

      • Thegr8rambino

        Lol do they still have them

    • Terra Cotta Woolpuller

      “Time for Russia to go big or go home! ” They need to act in getting rid of the spies anyways just expel them talk to the US is cheap, they understand action. That is the level of immaturity you are dealing with , when dealing with a child act the child in response they never expect it .They always expect others to act the adult , time for them to grow up !

      • Thegr8rambino

        Agree 100%

  • Don’t read butthurt replies

    “U.S. embassy in Moscow” Why even allow a damn U.S. embassy in your country. Such a dumb idea. It all start there, having a U.S., all the problems you can imagine.

  • Peter Fastwolf

    putin love for trump is stopping russia from getting rid of cia spies, i wonder what they really were doing in their 2 hour talk behind closed doors ,,