Russian Federation urges unconditional return of USA compounds

Russian Federation urges unconditional return of USA compounds

Obama announced the U.S. was shutting down residential complexes in December at the same time as he expelled 35 Russian diplomats for spying.

CBS News reported that when USA officials entered the shuttered Russian compounds past year, they found damaged materials that could have been used in intelligence gathering and that former officials say could have been useful in the ongoing investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

The Kremlin on Monday said Washington must unconditionally restore its access to diplomatic compounds in the United States ahead of high-level talks on the issue.

Mr Obama said he was ordering the ban due to U.S. intelligence reports of Russian hacking and an alleged influence campaign to sway the U.S. presidential election in Mr Trump's favour. "What is happening is - de facto and de jure - a violation of worldwide law".

"We still hope that our American colleagues will demonstrate a certain political wisdom and political will", he remarked during a conference call. Contacts are happening between the foreign policy departments [of Russian Federation and the United States].

Putin did not retaliate to the seizure of the compounds at the time.

Later Monday, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov will meet in Washington, DC, with Undersecretary of State Thomas Shannon over the diplomatic impasse between the two countries.

President Vladimir Putin raised the issue with Donald Trump when they met for the first time at the G20 summit in Hamburg this month.

On Tuesday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that Moscow would take retaliatory measures against Washington if the situation with Russia's diplomatic property in the United States was not resolved.

The Washington Post later reported that the Obama administration struggled to find ways to retaliate against Moscow after the USA discovered that Putin was directly involved in a cyber campaign to disrupt and discredit the U.S. presidential race over two years ago. Also on Tuesday, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov told Sputnik that Moscow had prepared a "tough" response to the United States' move, among other options.

It also has to deal with concerns at home - the Federal Bureau of Investigation and some U.S. intelligence professionals fear giving back the sites would aid Russian spy efforts.

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