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Russia Expecting 'Substantial' Proposals In Upcoming Talks With U.S.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said Moscow expected the meeting to be more than just a "protocol event" or "idle talk."

Moscow expects "substantial" proposals on improving relations during diplomatic talks between the United States and Russia set for Washington on July 17.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on July 13 that Moscow could be forced to respond to the December 2016 expulsion by the United States of 35 Russian diplomats and the seizure of two Russian diplomatic compounds.

Moscow did not retaliate when those sanctions were imposed by then-President Barrack Obama in response to a U.S. intelligence finding that Moscow had sought to interfere in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

Zakharova said the United State had refused to issue visas to candidates submitted to replace the 35 expelled diplomats, leaving an imbalance in the two countries' respective representations.

"So one of the options is that apart from expelling the corresponding number of diplomats, we will just have to even the number of personnel," Zakharova said.

She added that Moscow expected the July 17 meeting between Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov and U.S. Undersecretary of State Thomas Shannon to be more than just a "protocol event" or "idle talk."

On July 12, deputy assistant to U.S. President Donald Trump Sebastian Gorka suggested the Russian diplomatic compounds could be restored "if we can see acts of good faith" from Russia on the conflict in Syria.

Frants Klintsevich, head of the Russian Federation Council's Defense and Security Committee, told TASS that it was illogical to link the compound issue to Syria.

"If we adopted such an approach, then there would be no U.S. diplomatic property left in Russia," Klintsevich said.

Based on reporting by AP, Reuters, TASS, and Interfax