WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) urged the Trump Administration not to return two diplomatic compounds in the United States to Russia.
Intelligence reports indicate that the two compounds — one in New York and one in Maryland — were used by the Russian government for intelligence-related purposes. In response to Russia’s unprecedented interference in the 2016 election and repeated harassment of U.S. diplomats in Moscow, the U.S. government enacted sanctions against Russia, revoked diplomatic credentials to 35 Russian officials, and seized the two Russian compounds.
“These properties were seized because 17 U.S. intelligence agencies confirmed that Russia used covert cyberattacks, espionage, and harmful propaganda to try and undermine our democracy, in addition to the fact that U.S. diplomats in Russia faced repeated harassment from Russian security services. We need to stand strong and stand united so that Russia and other nations know that this aggression will not go unchecked,” said Graham.
“Russia has a pattern of waging attacks against democracies across the world. For years, our allies have been subjected to Russian aggression and invasions,” said Graham. “Over time, Russia has grown more determined in its effort to weaken democracies and expand its sphere of influence. As Secretary Mattis recently said, ‘Russia is choosing to be a strategic competitor to the West…and Russia’s violations of international law are now a matter of record.’
“Returning the compounds to Russian control is unjustifiable. It would both make it easier for the Kremlin to continue its intelligence operations in our own backyard and make it clear that they can avoid consequences for their actions,” concluded Graham.