Russia has described any possible conditions set by Washington to return two of the country's diplomatic compounds in the US that were closed down late last year as "unacceptable."
"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," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told CNN Monday.
"What is happening is -- de facto and de jure -- a violation of international law," he said. "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."
CNN has reached out to the White House for comment.
Last December, then-President Barack Obama imposed a range of sanctions against the Russian government for its alleged meddling in the 2016 presidential election, including the closure of two Russian compounds located in New York State and Maryland.
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov is expected to meet with US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Thomas Shannon in Washington later Monday to discuss the diplomatic compounds.
The Senate overwhelmingly voted to stop Trump from giving these compounds back as part of a package of new sanctions against Moscow last month. The Russians have gone from miffed to annoyed to outright angry at this point, and expect the man they installed in power to follow through on this.
Meanwhile the House GOP is dodging the Russian Senate bill and instead wants to tie Russian sanctions to new measures against North Korea.
House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy announced Friday that the House is looking to add North Korea provisions to a Russia and Iran sanctions bill that is stuck in a procedural morass.
The House passed a standalone North Korea sanctions bill in May on a 419 — 1 vote, but the Senate has yet to take up the measure. Adding North Korea to the Russia and Iran sanctions measure would ensure speedier Senate consideration.
“I believe Iran, the work Russia has done and what North Korea has done, it would be a very strong statement for all of America to get that sanction bill completed and done and to the president’s desk,” McCarthy said in floor remarks Friday.
House Foreign Affairs Chairman Ed Royce told reporters earlier Friday that he was working on a bipartisan sanctions measure that could see floor action as soon as next week. He did not specify the contents.
So who knows where this will all end up in the end. The House GOP almost certainly wants some pretty tough measures against North Korea if they are going to go along with the Senate on Russia.