Russia ready to expel about 30 U.S. diplomats, freeze U.S. property – newspaper

File Photo of U.S. Embassy Moscow, with Russian Foreign Ministry Building in Distance

MOSCOW. July 11 (Interfax) – Moscow plans to expel about 30 U.S. diplomats and freeze a number of U.S. properties in Russia, the newspaper Izvestia said on Tuesday citing a knowledgeable source with the Russian Foreign Ministry.

“Washington’s decision not to return the embassy property seized in December 2016 may prompt Russia to take those measures. The problem was not resolved at the recent negotiations between Russian President Vladimir Putin and U.S. President Donald Trump in Hamburg,” the newspaper said.

A senior source told the newspaper lately that Washington had no intention to unfreeze the Russian diplomatic property in the United States. “This decision prompts Russia’s mirror response – the expulsion of about 30 U.S. diplomats stationed in Russia and countersanctions to be imposed on U.S. property in Russia,” he said.

Moscow “would not like to apply such measures but it cannot leave Washington’s unfriendly move unanswered either,” Izvestia said.

“There is a preliminary agreement on a meeting between Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov and U.S. Under Secretary of States Thomas Shannon in St. Petersburg. The measures will have to be taken unless the sides reach compromise there,” the source with the Russian Foreign Ministry told the newspaper.

Another source of the newspaper in the Russian diplomatic community said that the countermeasures might put a freeze on the U.S. dacha in Serebryany Bor and a warehouse in Moscow, while the Spaso House Residence of the U.S. ambassador and the Embassy’s Anglo-American school in St. Petersburg would be spared, the newspaper said.