The Denver Post - - NATION & WORLD - Ukraine sanc­tions:

U.S. of­fi­cials says Rus­sia tried to hack elec­tion sys­tems in 21 states and to sway the elec­tion for Trump, a level of in­ter­fer­ence in the U.S. po­lit­i­cal sys­tem that se­cu­rity ex­perts say rep­re­sents a toplevel threat that should com­mand a force­ful re­sponse from the U.S. Putin has de­nied it.

There are no in­di­ca­tions Trump plans to raise Rus­sia’s med­dling. Yet if he doesn’t, it will give fuel to Trump’s crit­ics who say he’s bla­tantly ig­nor­ing a ma­jor na­tional se­cu­rity threat. It could also em­bolden those who say he is try­ing to cover for the Rus­sians af­ter ben­e­fit­ing from their in­ter­fer­ence.

Rus­sia’s wish list: Rus­sia has been es­pe­cially vo­cal about its chief de­mand: the re­turn of two prop­er­ties it owns in the U.S. that were seized by the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion as pun­ish­ment for Rus­sian med­dling in the 2016 elec­tion. The com­pounds are lo­cated in New York and Mary­land.

On Mon­day, Putin’s for­eign af­fairs ad­viser, Yuri Ushakov, said Rus­sia had been re­strained by de­clin­ing to re­tal­i­ate but that its pa­tience was run­ning out. If the U.S. doesn’t give back the com­pounds, Moscow will have no choice but to re­tal­i­ate, Ushakov said. Rus­sian also wants the U.S. to ease surveil­lance of its diplo­mats.

U.S. de­mands: The U.S. has its own list, topped by a re­sump­tion of adop­tions of Rus­sian chil­dren by Amer­i­can par­ents which Rus­sia banned in late 2012, an end to what it says is in­ten­si­fy­ing ha­rass­ment of U.S. diplo­mats and other of­fi­cials in Rus­sia and a res­o­lu­tion to a dis­pute over a piece of land in St. Peters­burg that was meant to be the site of a new U.S. con­sulate in Rus­sia’s sec­ond-largest city. Moscow has long sought an eas­ing of eco­nomic sanc­tions the U.S. slapped on Rus­sia over its ac­tions in east­ern Ukraine and an­nex­a­tion of Crimea, which the U.S. does not rec­og­nize.

Congress has been push­ing to in­crease sanc­tions on Rus­sia and make them harder for Trump to lift. The Se­nate has passed the pop­u­lar mea­sure, which won’t go to a House vote be­fore the meet­ing.

Syria: Ea­ger to bol­ster his global le­git­i­macy, Putin has been press­ing the U.S. to co­op­er­ate mil­i­tar­ily with Rus­sia in Syria, where both Moscow and Wash­ing­ton op­pose the Is­lamic State group but dis­agree about Syr­ian Pres­i­dent Bashar As­sad. Though de­fense laws passed in the wake of the Ukraine cri­sis bar the U.S. mil­i­tary from co­op­er­at­ing with Rus­sia, the two have main­tained a “de­con­flic­tion” hot­line to en­sure their forces don’t ac­ci­den­tally col­lide on the Syr­ian bat­tle­field.

The Pen­tagon has re­sisted pro­pos­als to work with Rus­sia in Syria, out of con­cern the U.S. can’t trust Moscow with sen­si­tive in­tel­li­gence in­for­ma­tion.

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