US might return Eastern Shore compound to Russians

US Attorney General Jeff Sessions

On May 31, it was disclosed that the Trump administration was considering returning two US compounds back to the Russian government.

Perez asserted in his statement that restoring the compounds would signal to the Putin government that they could continue committing cyber espionage against the USA without repercussions.

"The U.S. and Russian Federation have reached no agreements", R.C. Hammond told reporters Wednesday. Kremlin spokesman Yury Ushakov said Wednesday that Russia understands "the hard internal political situation for the current administration", but would explore options to retaliate for what it considers the "expropriation" of its property, according to Russian news outlet Sputnik.

In a news conference at the Russian Embassy after his meetings with Tillerson and President Donald Trump, Lavrov said of the compound closures, "Everyone, in particular the Trump administration, is aware that those actions were illegal", the Post reported. "So maybe they mind their manners?" said Patricia Gerhardt, a resident. Russian officials repeatedly asserted during meetings with US diplomats that Obama's action was illegal.

The Washington Post reported that Trump officials are specifically looking at whether to grant diplomatic immunity for the compounds - if they're returned.

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President Barack Obama had charged the compounds - one near New York City and the other on Maryland's Eastern Shore - were being "used by Russian personnel for intelligence-related purposes" and gave Russia 24 hours to vacate them.

Maryland U.S. Sen. Chris van Hollen strongly condemned the move, saying in a statement, "The United States expelled Russian spies from these properties because of Russia's interference in our elections".

"I think it's quite scandalous that they chose to throw out our kids", said Churkin, who died in February. The Obama administration characterized the properties as such when it revoked Russian ownership in late December as part of broader sanctions related to the election meddling.

It was later revealed that future National Security Adviser Michael Flynn discussed potentially lifting the sanctions with Kislyak during the transition.

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