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Iran Press TV

Russia demands US return seized compounds

Iran Press TV

Tue Jul 4, 2017 2:45PM

Russian President Vladimir Putin will demand the return of two diplomatic compounds seized by the United States when he meets US President Donald Trump in Germany this week for the first time, the Kremlin said.

Putin would raise the issue with Trump when the two meet in Hamburg, Germany, where the G-20 summit is being held Saturday, the Kremlin said in a statement released Tuesday.

The statement said that the Kremlin expected Putin would convey the need to find the "most rapid resolution" on the issue, which it described as an "irritant" in Russian-US relations.

Russia plans to confiscate US diplomatic property in Moscow unless Washington returns the Russian diplomatic compounds seized late last year.

Several Russian officials have warned that retaliatory measures have been drawn up if the compounds in New York state and Maryland are not returned.

Putin's foreign affairs adviser Yuri Ushakov said earlier that Moscow displayed "unusual flexibility" by not retaliating.

Ushakov urged Washington to "free Russia from the need to take retaliatory moves," according to The Associated Press.

The Russian compounds were seized by the administration of then-President Barack Obama in December 2016 over allegation of Moscow's involvement in hacking the US 2016 presidential election.

Obama also ordered the expulsion of 35 Russian diplomats over the hacking accusation despite Moscow's strong denial.

"We demand for what was taken away illegally be returned to us immediately, and we would also like to note that if it so happens that Washington does not restore the diplomatic immunity of our property, the response in regard to US property in Russia will be symmetric," said Maria Zakharova, the spokesperson for the Russian Foreign Ministry.

The Trump administration has reportedly been considering returning the compounds in an effort to improve relations with Moscow. Relations between Moscow and Washington are being described as at their worst since the Cold War.

The Russian demand comes as investigations continue into possible collusion between members of Trump's presidential campaign and Russian officials during last year's presidential race.

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