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Russian senator warns against any ‘deal-making’ for Moscow’s diplomatic property in US

MOSCOW, July 7. /TASS/. Washington should return Russia’s diplomatic property on US soil, and any deals or exchanges are unacceptable, Chairman of the Russian Federation Council (upper house of parliament) Committee for Foreign Affairs Konstantin Kosachev wrote on Facebook.

Earlier three US senators insisted the country’s President Donald Trump refrain from returning Russia’s diplomatic property - two compounds in New York and Maryland - seized by the Obama administration in 2016 in response to alleged Russian election meddling.

"The compounds should be returned, and the sooner the better," Kosachev said. "There should be no games, no deals or any exchanges on the matter," he added. In his opinion, the senators’ message to Trump "is scandalous as legislators in the country which boasts of its commitment to law, openly call on their head of state to violate international law."

"I do not know how the seizure of diplomatic property, protected by international conventions, could help the world’s democracies, but it is obvious that it has greatly damaged Washington’s reputation as a responsible participant to those convention," the Russian senator added.

In late December 2016, the Obama administration introduced a new round of sanctions against some Russian companies, the Federal Security Service and the Main Intelligence Agency of Russia’s General Staff. Besides that, US authorities expelled 35 Russian diplomats and shut down two Russian compounds in New York and Maryland. Washington attributed these sanctions to alleged cyberattacks against US political institutions, accusing Russia of being involved. However, Moscow fully rejected all allegations.

According to the US media, Donald Trump is considering the possibility of returning the compounds to Russia, however, the US authorities may refuse to restore the property’s diplomatic immunity.