The Kremlin wants the Trump administration to find the 'political will' to return diplomatic compounds seized from Moscow in the tail end of the Obama administration to punish Russian election meddling.
And Moscow is cranking up the rhetoric to try to force the return of the seized Maryland and New York compounds, which the Obama administration says were used for spies but Russia covets as tranquil retreats.
Foreign minister Sergey Lavrov called the seizure 'robbery in broad daylight' Monday, Russian state media reported.
As top diplomats meet in Washington to discuss the charged issue, Moscow is demanding the return of the compounds, which U.S. intelligence says were used for spying, 'without preconditions.'
Russia on Friday threatened to retaliate against the US seven months after former President Barack Obama expelled 35 Russian officials from America (stock photo)
Kremlin spokesman Dmitri Peskov says Russian President Vladimir Putin raised the issue directly in his one-on-one meeting with President Donald Trump in Paris last week, though Trump has tweeted that sanctions didn't come up in their meeting that lasted two hours and 15 minutes.
'We still hope that our American colleagues will demonstrate a certain political wisdom and political will,' Peskov said in a conference call with reporters.
'We have repeatedly said that we think any conditions are unacceptable. We think that the diplomatic property must be returned without any conditions and talks,' Peskov said Monday, CNN reported.
'What is happening is -- de facto and de jure -- a violation of international law,' Peskov continued. 'Contacts are happening between the foreign policy departments. Kremlin, as it is, does not really participate but as you know this issue was raised by President [Vladimir] Putin during his G20 meeting with President Trump in a quite straightforward manner.'
Obama shut down two Russian Federation estates that US officials believed were used as spy bases for the Kremlin
Trump tweeted earlier this month: 'Sanctions were not discussed at my meeting with President Putin. Nothing will be done until the Ukrainian & Syrian problems are solved!'
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov was set to sit down Monday with undersecretary of State Thomas Shannon in Washington to discuss the freighted issue.
The meeting comes as political Washington was rocked by daily revelations about a June meeting between Donald Trump Jr. and a Kremlin-linked lawyer where dirt on rival Hillary