12 July, 2017
In response to the recent round of USA sanctions against Russia, Moscow is planning to strike back by expelling at least 30 American diplomats and seizing U.S. state property in the country, a senior Kremlin official told Russian newspaper Izvestiya.
Ex-President Barack Obama acted against Russia after U.S. intelligence sources had accused Russian state agents of hacking into Democratic Party computers to undermine Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign.
If President Trump hands back the Russian diplomatic compounds seized by President Obama a year ago, he will cement his image of Kremlin stooge in the eyes of his opponents.
The sources speaking to Izvestia said patience had run out after Mr Putin failed to find agreement on the issue during his meeting with Mr Trump last week. At this point any concessions to Russian Federation would be highly controversial, in light of current investigations in America into alleged links between Mr Trump's team and Moscow.
Russian Federation refrained from a direct response to the measure as it came in the final months of Obama in office while everyone was expecting how new president Donald Trump may deal with the case. The actions were taken amid Moscow's alleged interference in the United States presidential election, which Russian Federation has repeatedly denied.More news: Foolish umbrella sharing business loses its 300000 brollies
Mr Putin refrained from tit-for-tat retaliation - unlike in previous diplomatic spats.
Quoting a Foreign Ministry source, the Izvestiya newspaper says the move is due to the failure to reach an agreement on two Russian diplomatic compounds in the United States seized by the outgoing Obama administration in December previous year.
According to the newspaper, while the administration plans to seize the American summer house in a forest region outside of Moscow and a warehouse in the center of the city, it will not touch the residence of the American ambassador and the American worldwide school in St. Petersburg.
A meeting between Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov and U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Thomas Shannon is scheduled to take place in St. Petersburg, and if the crisis regarding the Russian diplomatic mission is not resolved there, then mirror sanctions will be imposed, the official told Russian daily Izvestia. Russian Federation blocked most imported Western food and drink in retaliation.