Russian Federation mulls expulsion of 30 United States diplomats over seized compounds

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Moscow is weighing whether to expel American diplomats and seize US embassy property in retaliation for former President Obama's decision to kick out Russian officials and reclaim two diplomatic compounds suspected of being intelligence bases in NY and Maryland.

The Obama administration seized the recreational compounds in 2016 to punish the Kremlin for tampering in the presidential election. "If there is no compromise after that, we will have to take these measures", the official told Izvestia.

Moscow is working on retaliatory measures for the closure in the USA of two Russian diplomatic compounds and expulsion of 35 diplomats, as Washington stalls on the issue, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said, amid reports that U.S. officials could be expelled.

Russian president Vladimir Putin decided then against direct retaliation and did not expel American diplomats - a decision that was hailed by President Donald Trump as "a great move".

The measures were a response to alleged Russian meddling in the U.S. election.

In December the Obama administration expelled 35 Russian diplomats and shut down two intelligence compounds.

Returning the diplomatic compounds, which Obama seized as part of a larger sanctions package against Russian Federation, could be seen as a unilateral giveaway. Six months later, relations have not only not normalized but have deteriorated further following the latest round of sanctions against Russian Federation despite daily allegations that Trump colluded with the Kremlin to convince several million Americans to vote against Hillary.

The Obama administration said it took the action against Russian Federation in response to alleged interference in the United States elections.

Izvestiya previously reported that Russian Federation was considering taking an official USA embassy residence and a US -owned warehouse in Moscow if the issue were not resolved. The US closed Russian intelligence compounds in NY and Maryland.

According to a source, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov will meet with US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Thomas Shannon next week to discuss the issue of Russian diplomatic property in the United States.

The matter was not resolved during the Putin-Trump talks in Hamburg, Germany. The US ambassador's residence, Spaso House, and the embassy school in St. Petersburg are likely to be left unaffected, however. Russian Federation blocked most imported Western food and drink in retaliation.

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