Russians May Get Their US Compounds Back
2 sites were seized in Maryland and New York over hacking allegations
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 1, 2017 9:30 AM CDT
State Department personnel are seen at the entrance to a compound used by Russian diplomat near Centreville, Md., in December.   (AP Photo/Brian Witte)
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(Newser) – The Trump administration might let Russian officials return to two properties on US soil they were forced to vacate under President Obama, reports the Washington Post. In December, Obama evicted them from the compounds in Maryland and New York amid allegations that Russia interfered in the US election. He asserted they were used for "intelligence-related purposes." Russia, which has owned the properties for decades, insists they were seized illegally. Last month, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson floated the idea of allowing the Russians to return, though negotiations were still underway.

"The US and Russia have reached no agreements," says a State Department official, per NBC News. "The next meeting will be in June in St. Petersburg." One possibility is that the Russians will be able to return, but with greater restrictions. For example, the properties would no longer have diplomatic protection, meaning US law enforcement could enter them. The US had at one point considered a swap of sorts: The Russians could return if Moscow allowed the US to move ahead with the construction of a new consulate in St. Petersburg, per the Post, but that appears to be off the table.

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