A Russian official said Moscow might demand compensation from the U.S. government for blocking off access to two diplomatic compounds late last year as part of the sanctions imposed against the country for meddling in the 2016 elections.
Russian agents were expelled from the two U.S. locations on December 29 of last year, when then-President Obama levied sanctions on Russia. In a statement, Obama said the compounds were "used by Russian personnel for intelligence-related purposes."
The Washington Post reported Wednesday that the Trump administration is considering whether to allow Russian diplomats back into the retreats in Centreville, Md., and Oyster Bay, N.Y.
A report from state-sponsored TASS news agency in Russia said the Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said they haven't received proposals on how to settle the situation. As a result, she said, "This issue is slowly shifting to the field of compensation for the damage."
Other parts of the negotiation have included returning the properties to Russia if Moscow would lift a freeze on the construction of a new U.S. consulate near St. Petersburg, and whether the properties should be shielded by diplomatic immunity, which would mean U.S. law enforcement agencies would be barred from entry.
The optics of negotiating a settlement of some kind on the properties could be another issue for a White House that is battling numerous Russia-related investigations, which are looking into whether the Trump campaign may have colluded with Russian activities that were designed to tarnish Hillary Clinton's stature and reputation in the run-up to the election.