Moscow threatens retaliation if Trump doesn't return compounds

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The warning was in response to comments made on CNN by Sebastian Gorka, an adviser to U.S. President Donald Trump, that linked the compounds' return to Russia's adherence to a recent U.S-Russian cease-fire deal in southwest Syria.

In December 2016, former U.S. president Barack Obama expelled 35 Russian officials from the USA and seized two pieces of property belonging to the Kremlin.

By considering a release of the Russian diplomatic compounds that have remained sealed since December, Washington wants to leave the door open for rapprochement with Russia, Gorka said in an interview with CNN.

Russia's Foreign Ministry said on Friday that it was prepared to toss out American officials from the country and close down a number of U.S. properties in retaliation if two of its recreational compounds in the United States were not reopened.

After all, for Russian President Vladimir Putin, being considered a Machiavellian grandmaster of geopolitical skullduggery arguably gives him more power than he deserves.

She spoke about the possible expulsion of United States diplomats from Russia in response to Washington's seizure of the Russian diplomatic compounds in NY and Maryland six months ago.

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Maria Zakharova, a spokeswoman for the foreign ministry, told a news briefing on Friday that "time was running out" for the problem to be resolved.

Russian Federation would also move to deny USA diplomats use of a dacha compound and a warehouse in Moscow, she made clear.

"You must have heard about the adventures of some representatives of these services, everything was available to the public - wigs, disguises and installations with performances", she added. "(But) if it's the only way to make our American partners understand we will have to act".

Russia said on Friday that too many American spies operated in Moscow under diplomatic cover and said it might expel some of them to retaliate against the United States over Washington's expulsion of 35 Russian diplomats a year ago.

Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper also denounced the notion of returning the compounds last week. "Washington has not only failed to cancel the decision on the expulsion of our diplomats, but it also refuses to issue visas to those who are scheduled to replace the expelled personnel".

"There is an impression that the White House is trying to solve a dual problem: on the one hand, demonstrate its position of strength in the relations with Moscow, on the other, it decreases the significance of the issue for bilateral relations".