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Trump administration may return U.S. compounds to Russian Federation


Also, while the long-held suspicion that the consulates were secretly intelligence facilities sounds conspiratorial on the surface, countries using diplomatic covers for intelligence work is not uncommon. US media reported earlier in the day that both the US Congress and Federal Bureau of Investigation were looking into whether Sessions and Kislyak met at Trump's campaign event in April 2016.

The Trump administration was initially going to link returning the compounds to having Russian Federation permit renewal of construction on a new American consulate in St. Petersburg, according to a report by The Washington Post.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson later told Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak at a meeting in Washington that the compounds may soon be handed back without needing an agreement on the consulate, according to "several people with knowledge of the exchanges".

Its officials were thrown out of the compounds in December by the erstwhile Obama administration for Moscow's alleged interference in the 2016 presidential elections.

"This is a real bullying, bullying as it is, because labeling Russian ambassador a spy, who personally recruits United States politicians is insane".


Indeed, the compounds are now vacant because President Barack Obama's administration believed they were "used by Russian personnel for intelligence-related purposes" in the election, as President Obama explained in a statement issued December 29 when he closed the buildings on 24 hours' notice.

Senior Tillerson adviser R.C. Hammond told the Post that "U.S. and Russian Federation have reached no agreements", but Moscow is talking like it's a done deal.

In another present for Vladimir Putin and the Russians, the Trump administration is now planning give back two American-based compounds to Russia - the first sign that the White House is planning to ease punishments imposed on the Russians for their meddling in last year's election.

Russian Federation didn't retaliate against the US sanctions over the election hack.

For decades, Russian Federation asserted that it used the compounds as luxury event spaces where United Nations officials and ambassadors could enjoy recreational activities and carouse in comfort, but according to the Post, the USA has long suspected the properties were actually spy sites.

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