Russia Revokes U.S. Diplomats’ Parking Rights Amid Sanctions Spat
Russia has revoked parking rights for U.S. diplomatic staff as part of an ongoing diplomatic spat following new U.S. sanctions imposed on Russia last month, the state-run RIA Novosti news agency reported on Thursday.
A U.S. State Department spokesperson confirmed the new measures Thursday evening telling the news agency it planned to “raise the issue with the Russian Foreign Ministry.”
The Kommersant newspaper reported on Monday that the Foreign Ministry was preparing a response to the closure of its San Francisco consulate and annexes in New York and Washington D.C, including revoking U.S. diplomats’ parking rights.
Speaking at a press conference in Jordan, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Russia would establish “what is called parity” in working conditions between Russian and U.S. diplomats in response to the closures.
Road traffic safety authorities on Thursday removed designated parking signs for American and British diplomatic employees in Yekaterinburg, the state-run TASS news agency reports.
U.S. consulate parking spaces in St. Petersburg on Sept. 13 were replaced by a pedestrian crossing sign and a sign allowing u-turns on Wednesday, RIA reports. "Parking in this place was illegal and prevented pedestrians from walking," a St. Petersburg city representative told the RBC news outlet.
Parking spaces were removed from the Vladivostok U.S. consulate the same day, a city representative told Kommersant.
Concrete barriers outside the U.S. Embassy in Moscow are also set to be removed, RIA Novosti reports, adding that the local authorities say the move is in an effort to clear traffic.
“The Russian Embassy in Washington doesn’t have such structures," an unnamed diplomatic source told Kommersant. "And since the Americans are now achieving parity in everything, it seems that we will have to demolish these structures."
Washington’s decision to shutter Russian diplomatic properties comes after Russia’s Foreign Ministry instructed the U.S. diplomatic mission to Russia to reduce its staff.