Russians Might Get US Diplomatic Compounds Back — WaPost

The Washington Post reports that U.S. President Donald Trump's administration has taken steps toward returning two diplomatic compounds that Russian Federation was kicked out of in December.

In April of 2016, the Trump administration reportedly began negotiating the return of the properties into Russian control in return for Russia allowing the build a consulate in a certain location in St. Petersburg.

The United States government's position apparently changed less than a week later, according to the newspaper's unnamed sources, as "Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak at a meeting in Washington, that the United States had dropped any linkage between the compounds and the consulate". Before leaving office, Obama blacklisted several Russians, maintained evidence of Russian hacking during the election, and forced the closure of two lavish estates used by Russian diplomats since the '70s. If the Russians are allowed to reenter the compound, the Trump administration may restrict their activities, with one possible step being to revoke the properties' previous diplomatic immunity.

In a report on May 31, the Post cited several unidentified "people with knowledge" of exchanges between senior USA and Russian diplomats over the issue.

A senior adviser for Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, RC Hammond, however says, "The U.S. and Russian Federation have reached no agreements", and noted that the next senior-level meeting between the U.S. and Russian Federation will be in June in St. Petersburg.

"The dialogue between Russian Federation and the now free from the ideology that characterized it under the Barack Obama administration".

Any concessions to Moscow could prove controversial while administration and former Trump campaign officials are under congressional and special counsel investigation for alleged ties to Russian Federation.

The State Department confirmed that the 35 diplomats Mr. Obama ordered out had left the United States along with their family members. Russian officials called the allegations absurd. "They know full well that those two facilities they mentioned, they are vacation facilities for our kids and this is Christmas, and this is vacation time for our schools".

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