Russia warns of response if US doesn't reopen its properties

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(iStock)
(iStock)

Moscow - Russia's Foreign Ministry said on Friday that it would have to expel US diplomats and shut down some U.S. compounds in Russia if the United States does not reopen two Russian recreational estates in America  that were shut down last year.

In response to reports of Russian meddling in the presidential election, the outgoing Obama administration last year expelled 35 Russian officials from the US and shut down two Russian estates that President Barack Obama said were being used for spy operations.

New President Donald Trump and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin last week discussed the two diplomatic compounds, but did not reach an agreement.

Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova told reporters on Friday that Moscow "will have to take reciprocal measures" if the issue is not resolved.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov and US Undersecretary of State Tom Shannon are scheduled to meet on Monday for much-anticipated talks that Moscow abruptly cancelled last month in response to new Ukraine-related sanctions announced by the Trump administration.

Russia is hoping that Shannon will have "detailed suggestions on how to resolve the situation" with the Russian property in the US, Zakharova said.

The State Department wants a deal that could include restarting US adoptions of Russian children. It also has to deal with concerns at home - the FBI and some US intelligence professionals fear giving back the sites would aid Russian spy efforts.

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