Russian Federation demands immediate return of diplomatic property from US

Russian embassy in New York

Russian embassy in New York

According to Sputnik, a senior official from the White House said Washington is going to give back Russia's diplomatic properties only under the condition that it will receive something in return from Moscow. "We believe that it must be returned without any preconditions, without any talks, because what is happening de facto and de jure is a flagrant violation of global law".

Mr Obama said he was ordering the ban due to United States intelligence reports of Russian hacking and an alleged influence campaign to sway the USA presidential election in Mr Trump's favour.

Peskov said Russian President Vladimir Putin, blamed by the USA intelligence community for personally ordering the US election interference, "quite unambiguously" raised the issue of the closure of the compounds when he met with Trump at the recent G-20 summit in Germany.

CNN has reached out to the White House for comment.

Then-U.S. President Barack Obama shut the compounds and expelled 35 Russian diplomats it accused of spying in December, less than a month before he left office, in response to the Russian election interference, a claim Moscow rejects.

Moscow has said any attempts by Washington to hold onto the property goes against worldwide law and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said it amounted to "daylight robbery".

Trump has repeatedly cast doubt over the U.S. intelligence community's assessment that Russian intelligence agencies interfered in the election.

At the time, "the Kremlin refrained from retaliating in the hope relations with the Trump administration would improve", NPR's Lucian Kim reports from Moscow.

Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova complained that the USA was also refusing to issue visas for Russian diplomats to replace those expelled. "I want to confirm that the retaliatory measures are in the works", Zakharova told reporters. The situation is quite sensitive indeed. "The second possible explanation is that it would simply be an irritant and would send a message to the Russians that, you know, we are displeased, and it would be sort of an annoyance".

"We still hope that our American colleagues will demonstrate a certain political wisdom and political will", he remarked during a conference call.

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