Russia will retaliate if U.S. does not release property: Lavrov

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov speaks during a meeting with Arab League Secretary-General Ahmed Aboul Gheit in Moscow, Russia, July 5, 2017. REUTERS/Sergei Karpukhin

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Russia will retaliate in a reciprocal manner if the United States does not heed its demands for a return of diplomatic assets, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Tuesday.

“We hope that the United States, as a country which promotes the rule of law, will respect its international obligations,” Lavrov told reporters after a meeting in Brussels with EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini.

“If this does not happen, if we see that this step is not seen as essential in Washington, then of course we will take retaliatory measures. This is the law of diplomacy, the law of international affairs, that reciprocity is the basis of all relations.”

He declined to answer when asked if that meant that Russia would expel U.S. diplomats and seize diplomatic property.

Reporting by Alastair Macdonald, editing by Robin Emmott