The Kremlin said on Wednesday Moscow’s patience was running out in its diplomatic row with the United States that seized Russia’s diplomatic property in the U.S. and expelled Russian diplomats in 2016.
“From the point of view of international law, Russia cannot put up with it for a long time, leaving it without taking any measures of reciprocity,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told a conference call with reporters.
“But at the same time we expect that in the end our colleagues in the U.S. will finally show some kind of political will to rectify the violations of international law which they admitted.”
He declined to say when Moscow could take its retaliatory action.
There were six people in the room when the president of the United States met the president of Russia: two presidents, two foreign ministers, two translators — with no aides, no advisers, no experts. There was nothing prepared in advance: The U.S. national security adviser, H.R. McMaster, said last week that there was “no specific agenda — it’s really going to be whatever the president wants to talk about.”
A nearly empty room. A blank slate. The Russian-American relationship, which has always been atypical, has now become strange, even surreal. It is not even predictable, in the way that most diplomatic relationships are usually more or less predictable, because it is not driven by the geopolitical or economic interests of either Russians or Americans. It is driven, rather, by the personal interests of the two main players.
The actual agreements reached were underwhelming: an open channel of communication on Ukraine, whatever that means; a cease-fire in part of Syria, which could be hopeful but has been tried before; some new ambassadors. Far more important, as I say, were the personal stakes — and Russian President Vladimir Putin got most of what he wanted out of the meeting in the first few seconds. Outplaying President Trump at his own silly game, he waited for the American to offer his hand. Cameras clicked and flashed; minutes later, Russian websites had the photograph — a picture of Trump holding out his hand to a haughty Putin — on their home pages.