Trump administration may return Russian compounds in New York, Maryland

by Abel Hampton June 2, 2017, 1:44

The Washington Post reported that the Trump administration was taking steps to hand back the compounds - one in Maryland and one in NY - which former President Barack Obama ordered shuttered in December in retaliation for the alleged orchestration of hacking attacks created to interfere in the presidential election. The facilities would then be treated as ordinary buildings and could be searched by USA law enforcement, sources told WaPo on the condition of anonymity when discussing sensitive diplomatic matters.

On December 29, former USA president Barack Obama said that the compounds were being used by the Russians for "intelligence-related purposes" and gave Russia 24 hours to vacate the estate. The former president also ejected 35 Russian intelligence operatives from America amid findings by the USA intelligence community that Moscow sough to tilt last year's election in Trump's favor.

A spokesman for Secretary of State Rex Tillerson says that the administration has not made a deal to hand over control of the compounds to Russian Federation. "The next meeting will be in June in St. Petersburg". The initial plan involved the lift of a freeze against the U.S.in 2014 that halted the construction of a new US consulate in St. Petersburg - retaliation for sanctions during the conflict in Ukraine.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson changed course two days later, however, when meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Russian Ambassador to the U.S. Sergei Kislyak in Washington, D.C. They gave the foreign government 24 hours to evacuate both compounds, "as punishment for Moscow's interference in the 2016 presidential election", according to the newspaper's article. "The administrations that have replaced each other in power in Washington have never questioned this status", he said.

According to reports, the Trump administration is ready to hand the retreats back to Russian Federation.

The Russians called the Eastern Shore property and another property in Oyster Bay, Long Island, diplomatic retreats. Moscow says it uses them as a retreat for embassy and United Nations employees, and to hold official events. The cited reasons were the USA intelligence community's consensus that the Russian government had committed cyber espionage to subvert the 2016 presidential election and the harassment of US diplomats in Russia.


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