Russian diplomatic properties in US 'inviolable'

MOSCOW, Sep. 03 (MNA) – In the light of Washington's decision to shut down three Russian missions, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange says that diplomatic properties are inviolable within international law.

Russian diplomatic properties in the United States are inviolable under the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, signed by Washington, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange said Saturday, following Washington's decision to close down three Russian properties and search the premises of the Russian Trade Representation in the US capital.

"If Russia's missions are standard diplomatic properties then they are inviolable under the VDR [Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations] signed by the US," Assange wrote on his Twitter account.

The searches were scheduled for 2 p.m. local time (18:00 GMT) and trade mission staff were expected to be barred from accessing the premises starting from that moment.

"It doesn't matter what Russia is doing with the properties. Once the US agrees to list them as diplomatic posts they become inviolable," Assange added.

Earlier in the day, Russian Trade Representative in the United States Aleksander Stadnik called the searches at the building of the trade mission in Washington DC, a violation of international laws.

On Thursday, the US State Department said in a press release that Washington had demanded that Moscow close down its Consulate General in San Francisco and two other diplomatic entities in New York City and Washington DC by Saturday.

On Friday, the Russian Foreign Ministry said that US Security services were planning to search the premises of the Russian Consulate General in San Francisco. The US State Department said, when asked about the searches, that the agency intended to "secure and maintain the properties in keeping with our responsibilities."

The US decision came after Russia announced in July that the diplomatic presence of the United States in Russia would be scaled down by 755 people to 455, the same number of diplomatic personnel Russia has in the United States. In late 2016, 35 Russian diplomats were expelled from the United States.


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