The Trump administration is reportedly in talks to let Russian Federation resume control of diplomatic compounds in NY and Maryland, putting the White House on a path to potentially reversing Obama-era sanctions imposed against Moscow over its purported involvement in the 2016 USA presidential race.
The Trump administration told Russian Federation in early May that it would consider giving the houses back if Moscow would lift its freeze on the construction of a new USA consulate in St. Petersburg. In December, Obama evicted them from the compounds in Maryland and NY amid allegations that Russian Federation interfered in the USA election.
However, the administration changed its position just two days later, with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson telling Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak that the USA would not tie Russia's return to the compounds to the United States' ability to keep building its consulate, according to the Washington Post.
Earlier on Twitter, Schiff wrote that Trump "should not return properties Russians used for espionage that were shuttered after they interfered in our election".
But the outlet said that before unfreezing the properties Washington would consider such options as scrapping their diplomatic immunity, which would give U.S. police access to the buildings.
Kremlin aide Yury Ushakov told the Sputnik news agency that Russian Federation had the right to take back the St. Petersburg property "if these steps are not somehow adjusted by the USA side".
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No link would be made between the US and Russian properties, he reportedly told the diplomats.
"The U.S. and Russian Federation have reached no agreements", R.C. Hammond, senior communications adviser for the U.S. State Department, told NBC News on Wednesday evening.
It is being further reported that the administration is examining all possible restrictions on Russian activities, including waiving off the diplomatic immunity on the properties, which were previously enjoyed. Russian officials called the allegations absurd. Obama said they were being "used by Russian personnel for intelligence-related purposes".
"I think it's quite scandalous that they chose to throw out our kids", said Churkin, who died in February. The Kremlin imposed the freeze in 2014 after the US placed wide-ranging sanctions on Russian Federation in retaliation for its annexation of Crimea from Ukraine.
It was later revealed that future National Security Adviser Michael Flynn discussed potentially lifting the sanctions with Kislyak during the transition.