Russia plans to sue the US over consulate closures

Russia plans to sue the US over consulate closures
© Getty Images

Russia's foreign minister alerted Secretary of State Rex TillersonRex Wayne TillersonArmed Services chairman to Trump: Keep Mattis 'as long as you possibly can' Sunday shows preview: Trump sells U.N. reorganizing and Kavanaugh allegations dominate Pompeo working to rebuild ties with US diplomats: report MORE that Moscow intends to take the United States to court over recently shuttered diplomatic properties, the Russian state news service reported on Tuesday.

The announcement came hours after Russian President Vladimir Putin hinted that might be the next step after the Trump administration ordered diplomats to close annexes in Washington, D.C., and New York, as well as a consulate in San Francisco. 

"I will issue instructions to the Foreign Ministry to take the case to court. Let us see how effectively the vaunted US judicial system works," Putin said at the BRICS conference in China. 

The TASS news agency reported that the office of Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov will be in charge of determining which court will hear the case and what properties would feature in that case. 

ADVERTISEMENT

"The sides discussed the situation in bilateral relations and Lavrov stressed that the seizure of Russian diplomatic property in the United States by the US authorities is a flagrant violation of international law," the foreign ministry was quoted as saying. 

The Russian properties were shuttered as a U.S. response to Russia barring 755 U.S. diplomats and staff from the U.S. mission in Russia, two links in a growing chain of retaliation and counter-retaliation dating back to the last days of the Obama administration. 

Russia reduced the U.S. diplomatic staff to punish the U.S. for seizing two Russian recreational compounds in response to Russian interference in the 2016 election.

The State Department on Tuesday said it would not speculate about possible Russian retaliation.

"We will say, however, that we are confident in the legality of the actions we announced and carried out last week," a senior State Department official said.