Putin Wants US to Return Russian Embassy Compounds

(CN) — An advisor to Russian President Vladimir Putin said Monday that the Kremlin is running out of patience with a U.S. plan to return the Russian Embassy compounds.

Speaking in Moscow on Monday, Yuri Ushakov, foreign affairs advisor to the Russian president, said his nation has demonstrated remarkable restraint by refraining from a tit-for-tat response to President Barack Obama’s decision in December to expel 35 Russian diplomats and shutter Russian compounds in Maryland and on Long Island, New York.

Ushakov says while Russia has shown “unusual flexibility,” Moscow’s patience “has its limits.”

He urged Washington to take action to “free Russia from the need to take retaliatory moves,” emphasizing that Moscow will feel obliged to respond if the matter isn’t settled.

In early May, the Trump administration told the Russians that it would consider turning the properties back over to them if Moscow would lift its freeze on construction of a new U.S. consulate on a certain parcel of land in St. Petersburg.

The freeze was imposed in 2014 in retaliation for U.S. sanctions related to Ukraine.

However, two days later the administration laid out its position, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak at a meeting in Washington that the United States had dropped any linkage between the compounds and the consulate.

Since then the State Department has only said conversations about the compounds are “ongoing.”

Putin and Trump are to have their first meeting at the sidelines of the G-20 summit, being held in Germany on Friday and Saturday.

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