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Russia threatens US government properties in new tweet

A Russian compound, which was ordered to be closed and vacated, is seen in Upper Brookville, Long Island, New York, on Dec. 30, 2016.

Reuters/Rashid Umar Abbasi

Russian officials confirm to CBS News' Margaret Brennan that they will be asking President Trump at an upcoming meeting in Moscow to return properties seized by the Obama administration in the wake of the hacking of the Democratic National Committee. And Russia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a warning tweet on Thursday saying "If the US doesn't restore diplomatic immunity of Russian property, Russia will reply in kind regarding regarding US property in Russia."

The new threats against U.S. government properties comes after reports that Mr. Trump was considering handing back to Russia the two compounds in New York and Maryland.

President Obama shuttered the Cold War-era luxury retreats, which the the U.S. government believed were being used for intelligence activities,  as part of a raft of sanctions against the Russian government in response to suspected election hacking during the lead up to the 2016 presidential election.

The Obama White House also ordered the expulsion of 35 diplomats, who the U.S. said were actually spies, from the United States as part of punishment.

The Trump administration told Russian officials last month that it would consider handing the properties back over, if the Russians were to lift their freeze on construction of a new consulate in St. Petersburg, according to the Washington Post. The Russians implemented the construction freeze in response to U.S. sanctions that were imposed following Russia's invasion of Ukraine in 2014. 

However, a senior adviser for Secretary of State Rex Tillerson denied the report. "The U.S. and Russia have reached no agreements," said R.C. Hammond, who noted that the next senior-level meeting between the U.S. and Russia will be this month in St. Petersburg.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has since insisted that the Russian state has never engaged in hacking and scoffed at allegations that hackers could influence the outcome of elections in the US.

But the Russian leader admitted the possibility that some individual "patriotic" hackers could have mounted some attacks amid the current cold spell in Russia's relations with the West.

"I can imagine that some do it deliberately, staging a chain of attacks in such a way as to cast Russia as the origin of such an attack," Putin said. "Modern technologies allow that to be done quite easily."

  • Emily Tillett

    Emily Tillett is a politics reporter and video editor for CBS News Digital