“We are waiting for the return of Russian diplomatic property illegally impounded before the New Year by the previous U.S. authorities,” said Yuri Ushakov, a Kremlin foreign policy aide on Friday.
“We decided not to respond immediately to this escapade, but no one has yet abolished the principle of reciprocity in diplomacy … Our patience is not without limits,” he said. Ushakov implied that Russian retaliation against the U.S. could not be ruled out.
Obama administration ordered the expulsion of 35 Russian diplomats in December last year. Obama’s executive order also imposed sanctions on Russian intelligence agencies over their alleged involvement in hacking political groups inside the U.S.
Russia had refrained from imposing retaliatory measures against the U.S. Russian President Vladimir Putin said at the time Russia would wait until U.S. President-elect Donald Trump took office on January 20 before deciding what action to take.
Both the White House and the Kremlin have mentioned the possibility of Trump and Putin meeting in at the G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany in July.
The two leaders have talked on the phone three times. During their last phone conversation, Putin and Trump agreed that the U.S. and Russia should make additional efforts to deepen their cooperation in Syria.