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    US Considers Giving Back Seized Russian Property Without Losing Face

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    Left to deal with the legacy of the Obama administration, which confiscated Russian diplomatic property last year, the White House is likely waiting for the right moment to undo the damage withou losing face at the same time, St. Petersburg-based political scientist Grigory Yarygin told Sputnik.

    Moscow’s patience over US foot-dragging regarding the return of confiscated Russian diplomatic property is running thin, Kremlin press spokesman Dmitry Peskov said, hinting that Russia could respond in kind.

    "We spoke about the principle of reciprocity. As to the fact that Russia's patience [is running out], this was also said at different levels," Peskov told reporters.

    In December 2016, the administration of former president Barack Obama imposed a set of punitive measures against Russia over Moscow’s alleged meddling in the US presidential election and harassment of US diplomats stationed in Russia.

    The sanctions included the closure of Russian diplomatic compounds in Washington and New York, which the White House claimed had been used as a cover for Russian spying activities in the United States.

    President Vladimir Putin decided to no respond to the sanctions imposed by the outgoing US administration and act in accordance with the ties built with the new US leadership.

    On June 13, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said that the US and Russia were discussing the terms of returning the two facilities to Russia.

    In an interview with Radio Sputnik, St. Petersburg University’s associate professor Grigory Yarygin said that Washington was apparently waiting for the right time to give the confiscated diplomatic property back to Russia.

    “The Americans are not ignoring the Russian requests and it looks like there is some work going on to determine exactly how this property is going to be returned. However, they apparently think that the political moment for giving  these “dachas” back without losing face hasn’t come yet,” Yarygin said.

    He added that this moment could come when Presidents Trump and Putin meet in Hamburg later this week.

    “Simply returning this diplomatic property to Russia and saying that President Obama was wrong won’t look good for the US. […] The Americans will probably try to use the situation to secure Moscow’s agreement for resumed construction of the new US consulate building in St. Petersburg.

    Unrelated as they may seem, these two issues could hold the key to resolving the situation,” Grigory Yarygin noted.

    Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said earlier that Washington had pledged to prepare proposals in the near future aimed to settle the issue of Russian diplomatic property being seized in the United States.

    Related:

    No US Proposals on Expropriated Russian Compounds Yet - Russian Foreign Ministry
    US Denies Access to 2 Russian Diplomatic Compounds Without Written Permission
    Tags:
    US consulate, anti-Russian sanctions, seisure, diplomatic compounds, University of St. Petersburg, Vladimir Putin, Barack Obama, Maria Zakharova, Rex Tillerson, Grigory Yarygin, Dmitry Peskov, Russia, United States
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