US mulls return of Russian diplomatic compounds

The Washington Post wrote that the Trump administration is moving toward handing back to Russian Federation two diplomatic compounds in New York City and Maryland, which were shut down by the Obama administration.

"We divide by a half what these media The Washington Post in this case publish on the matter", he said. The facilities would then be treated as ordinary buildings and could be searched by US law enforcement, sources told WaPo on the condition of anonymity when discussing sensitive diplomatic matters.

Equipment is removed from a Russian compound at Pioneer Point in Maryland in December after President Barack Obama imposed sanctions for Russia's alleged interference in the presidential campaign. The State Department separately ejected 35 diplomatic personnel suspected of being intelligence operatives. But Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is no longer insisting on the resumption of construction as a prerequisite for returning the compounds.

R.C. Hammond, senior communications adviser for the State Department, said Wednesday night: "The U.S. and Russian Federation have reached no agreements".

"The Russian Foreign Ministry does not rule out the possibility of filing financial claims to the United States because of the damage from the illegal blocking of Russian property", Zakharova said on a visit to the Rossiya Segodnya International Information Agency stand at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF).

Trump's administration had initially proposed returning the compounds to the Russians in exchange for permission to resume construction on a USA consulate in St. Petersburg.

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Negotiations over the status of the diplomatic compounds are taking place amidst a broader debate within the administration over whether to maintain sanctions on Russian Federation, both for interference in the presidential election and for Moscow's ongoing intervention in Ukraine. "The administrations that have replaced each other in power in Washington have never questioned this status", he said.

This would be the first attempt by Trump to roll back sanctions on Russian Federation imposed by the Obama administration.

R.C. Hammond, an adviser to Tiller, told the Post that "the USA and Russian Federation have reached no agreements".

The 14 acre estate on Long Island and several buildings on secluded acreage along the Corsica River on Maryland's Eastern Shore have been in Russian possession since the Soviet Union days.

However, Russia said the facilities were being used for rest and recreation for embassy and United Nations employees and to hold official events.

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