By Diyar Guldogan
ANKARA (AA) – Moscow on Sunday urged the return of compounds in the U.S. seized by the Obama administration in retaliation for alleged Kremlin interference in the U.S. presidential election.
“We still hope that our American counterparts will show political wisdom and political will,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov was quoted as saying by Russia’s official TASS news agency.
Bilateral ties worsened after the expulsion of 35 Russian diplomats from the U.S. and the closure of two Russian diplomatic compounds in late December by then-President Barack Obama for Moscow’s alleged role in hacking elections to favor the campaign of Donald Trump.
Peskov said any preconditions for the U.S. to return the compounds would be “unacceptable” for Russia, according to TASS.
In May, The Washington Post reported that Rex Tillerson, Trump’s secretary of state, told his Russian counterpart that the U.S. was ready to return the compounds without any preconditions.
Peskov did not comment on a meeting later on Monday in the U.S. between Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov and State Department Undersecretary for Political Affairs Thomas Shannon, who will discuss the matter.
Separately, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov called any move by the U.S. to set preconditions for the returning of compounds “daylight robbery”, according to TASS.
The comments come amid growing evidence of possible collusion between people close to Trump — including his son and son-in-law — with Russia to influence the outcome of last November’s election, including a meeting last June.
President Trump has continued to cast doubt on Russian interference in the election, saying he wants to build closer ties with Russia.