Kremlin denies contacts with Russian lawyer who met Trump Jr

Violet Powell
July 16, 2017

"There is no sense drawing us into such a soap opera as we are not taking part or playing roles in it", said the Kremlin spokesman.

The Russian Foreign Ministry reportedly threatened on Friday to expel US diplomats and close American compounds in the country if the Trump administration does not return two Russian diplomatic compounds in the USA that were seized a year ago.

Trump, he said, pressed Russian President Vladimir Putin "on multiple occasions" about election tampering when they met last week at the Group of 20 summit in Hamburg.

Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said allegations of interference and other accusations were "an obvious lie".

Putin has not yet taken any decisions on retaliatory measures, Peskov said.

Under then-President Barack Obama, the United States took several retaliatory steps against Russian Federation over alleged attempts to influence the 2016 election.

Moscow has repeatedly demanded the return of the properties, and the issue became hot again after Russian President Vladimir Putin and his US counterpart Donald Trump held their first meeting last week in Germany.

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Moscow has had no contacts with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya who met U.S. President Donald Trump's son a year ago, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Wednesday.

The measures included barring access to two diplomatic compounds in use by the Russian Embassy in Washington and Russia's Permanent Mission to the United Nations in NY.

When asked specifically by Tapper about those two compounds, Gorka said the United States needs to find ways to work with Russian Federation. "As for the measures - the number of personnel at the USA embassy in Moscow significantly exceeds the number of our personnel working in Washington".

Thomas Shannon, the US undersecretary of state for political affairs, and Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov plan to meet in Washington on Monday to discuss issues including the expulsions and the seizure of two properties owned by the Russian government in the United States. "So, one of the options is that, apart from expelling the corresponding number of U.S. diplomats, we will just have to even the number of personnel", Zakharova added.

"At the same time, we have pointed out repeatedly that the situation both with diplomats and the property continues to be unacceptable".

Russia's leadership, including Vladimir Putin, have dismissed time and again the accusations that Moscow meddled in the 2016 U.S. elections - in spite of the findings announced by the U.S. intelligence community.

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