The compounds were bought by the Soviet government last century. Russian Federation had barred the USA from continuing work on the consulate in 2014 after the US imposed sanctions on Russian Federation.
Officials would likely give back the estates with strings attached, including revoking the diplomatic protections previously attached to the buildings, The Washington Post reported. Sources told the outlet that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said, in a Washington, D.C., meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, that return of the compounds would not be contingent upon consulate construction.
Kremlin aide Yury Ushakov told the Sputnik news agency that Russian Federation had the right to take back the St. Petersburg property "if these steps are not somehow adjusted by the USA side".
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According to reports, the Trump administration is ready to hand the retreats back to Russian Federation. "So maybe they mind their manners?" said Patricia Gerhardt, a resident.
Even if the Trump administration does allow Russian Federation to used the compounds again, they are considering restrictions on use of the properties, such as revoking diplomatic immunity there, per the Washington Post.
Another facility, in Centreville, Md., was also emptied as part of the sanctions.. Before leaving office, Obama blacklisted several Russians, maintained evidence of Russian hacking during the election, and forced the closure of two lavish estates used by Russian diplomats since the '70s. The State Department separately ejected 35 diplomatic personnel suspected of being intelligence operatives.
On December 29, former US president Barack Obama said that the compounds were being used by the Russians for "intelligence-related purposes" and gave Russia 24 hours to vacate the estate. "They know full well that those two facilities they mentioned, they are vacation facilities for our kids and this is Christmas, and this is vacation time for our schools".