Russia threatens to seize U.S. property in Russia-U.S. property dispute

The report's sources are anonymous. But it follows a Thursday pronouncement by Maria Zakharova, a spokeswoman for the Russian Foreign Ministry.
By Leon Clarke | Jun 13, 2017
The Obama administration had seized two Russian-owned properties in the United States after the elections, and the Russian government is now threatening to take hold of two U.S.-owned properties in Moscow if it does not get its U.S. properties back, Russian newspaper Kommersant reported on Friday. Russian officials are giving the United States until July to make the exchange. Moscow might also alter the legal status of the local Anglo-American school and in so doing make the school's life difficult, the report added.

The dispute began in December, when the Obama administration expelled 35 Russians from two diplomatic compounds in the United States and took possession of both properties, which were in Maryland and Long Island, New York. Obama officials took this action over what it said was the resident Russians' role in hacking during the election campaign.

Moscow denied the accusations against its 35 expelled citizens but reportedly held off on taking any retaliatory action at the time because it wanted to see if relations would improve under the incoming Trump administration.

According to Kommersant's report, Moscow is speaking up on the matter now, in anticipation of a possible meeting between President Trump and Russian president Vladimir Putin during the G20 conference in Germany July. The United States has until then to return the compounds, the report states, or else Russia will take over a U.S. diplomatic country house and a U.S. diplomatic warehouse, both in Moscow.

The report's sources are anonymous. But it follows a Thursday pronouncement by Maria Zakharova, a spokeswoman for the Russian Foreign Ministry. She said that Russia wanted its U.S. compounds back and could "retaliate in kind" if it did not get them.

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