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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 11 December 2018

Russian tensions open new front of concern for Trump

Vladimir Putin hits back at decision by White House administration to expel diplomats from consulates across the US

Putin said he would order the Russian foreign ministry to take legal action over alleged violations of Russia's property rights
Putin said he would order the Russian foreign ministry to take legal action over alleged violations of Russia's property rights

Against a backdrop of potential nuclear war in east Asia, and trouble at home over DACA, president Donald Trump faces renewed international tensions with the Russians after the US government ordered Russia to vacate diplomatic premises in several American cities.

Following the expulsions, Vladimir Putin, the Russian president, said that his country reserved the right to cut the number of American diplomatic staff in Moscow. Putin talked on Tuesday about Washington's “boorish” treatment of Russia's diplomatic mission on US soil.

Putin said he would order the Russian foreign ministry to take legal action over alleged violations of Russia's property rights.

“That the Americans reduced the number of our diplomatic facilities - this is their right," Putin told a news conference in the Chinese city of Xiamen, where he was attending a summit of major emerging economies.

“The only thing is that it was done in such a clearly boorish manner. That does not reflect well on our American partners. But it's difficult to conduct a dialogue with people who confuse Austria and Australia. Nothing can be done about it. Probably such is the level of political culture of a certain part of the US establishment.

“As for our buildings and facilities, this is an unprecedented thing,” Putin said. “This is a clear violation of Russia's property rights. Therefore, for a start, I will order the Foreign Ministry to go to court - and let's see just how efficient the much-praised U.S. judiciary is.”

In reactiion, a Senior State Department official said: ”We hope that we can avoid further retaliatory actions with Russia and move forward to achieve the stated goal of both of our presidents: improved relations between our two countries and increased cooperation on areas of mutual concern. For that reason, we will not speculate on any potential Russian retaliation.

“We will say, however, that we are confident in the legality of the actions we announced and carried out last week. The Vienna Convention on Consular Relations provides that consular posts are established only with the host state’s consent. The United States has withdrawn its consent for Russia’s consular post in San Francisco. The Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations does not prevent restrictions on location of Embassy buildings or annexes.”