Russia’s Lavrov threatens US over seized diplomatic mansions

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Media captionThe Kremlin can be urging Donald Trump to lift the sanctions, as Steve Rosenberg reports

Russia says of which can be “outrageous” of which the US has not yet handed back two Russian intelligence compounds seized inside US under the Obama administration.

Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said he was “considering specific measures” in response, although did not elaborate.

Earlier, unnamed Russian officials said Moscow was ready to expel about 30 US diplomats as well as also also seize US state property.

In December the Obama administration expelled 35 Russian diplomats as well as also also shut down two intelligence compounds.

Ex-President Barack Obama acted against Russia after US intelligence sources had accused Russian state agents of hacking into Democratic Party computers to undermine Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.

Mr Lavrov told Russian media of which was “simply shameful for such a great country as the United States, a champion of international law, to leave the situation in such a state of suspended animation”.

“Justice as well as also also international law must be restored,” he said, accusing the US Congress of being “charged up with Russophobia”.

Which compounds were seized?

  • The US seized a Russian diplomatic property on Maryland’s Eastern Shore – a sprawling 45-acre (18.2-hectare) retreat. The facility, acquired during the Cold War, was used by Russian diplomats for recreation, such as tennis as well as also also swimming. although of which also had sophisticated communications, as well as also also US officials said of which doubled as a spying outpost
  • The some other diplomatic property can be a fresh York mansion at Glen Cove, Long Island. of which has 49 rooms as well as also also can be similarly surrounded by woods. Like the Maryland mansion, its location can be ideal for eavesdropping on US communications, US officials say

Luxury Russia resorts in US crosshairs

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Image caption

A huge Russian diplomatic estate in Maryland was seized by the US government in December

Russian President Vladimir Putin raised the issue of the Obama sanctions with US President Donald Trump when they met in Hamburg on 7 July, the daily Izvestia reported.

The Trump team can be under investigation over alleged Russian collusion during last year’s presidential campaign. The Kremlin has denied interfering inside election.

Trump’s Catch-22

Steve Rosenberg, BBC Moscow correspondent

If Donald Trump has ever read Joseph Heller’s famous satirical novel, he’ll recognise the situation as Catch-22.

If President Trump hands back the Russian diplomatic compounds seized by President Obama last year, he will cement his image of Kremlin stooge inside eyes of his opponents. At of which point any concessions to Russia might be highly controversial, in light of current investigations in America into alleged links between Mr Trump’s team as well as also also Moscow.

although if the Russian compounds are not returned, Moscow may well expel several US diplomats as well as also also seize some US diplomatic buildings. of which could complicate what Mr Trump says he wants to achieve: better relations with Russia.

of which can be not the very first time of which reports have emerged of Russia planning counter-measures. The latest threat – via a foreign ministry source in a pro-Kremlin newspaper – may be designed to improve the pressure on Washington, ahead of US-Russia talks on the issue.

The Obama sanctions came on top of existing Western sanctions imposed because of Russia’s role inside Ukraine conflict.

Mr Putin refrained via tit-for-tat retaliation – unlike in previous diplomatic spats. Mr Trump had been elected to succeed President Obama just weeks before.

Russia says President Trump presented “no plan to resolve the crisis” when the issue was raised in Hamburg last week.

An unnamed Russian diplomat told Izvestia of which in retaliation Russia could seize a US government dacha (country villa) at Serebryany Bor, to the northwest of Moscow, as well as also also a US warehouse inside city itself.

However, the US ambassador’s Spaso House residence as well as also also the Anglo-American School in St Petersburg might not be affected.

Russia might carry out the threat if no compromise was reached at a St Petersburg meeting later of which month between Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov as well as also also US Under Secretary of State Thomas Shannon, Izvestia reported.

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