Even though American Democrats are characterizing President Trump as a man with close ties to Russia, the foreign government itself paints a much less friendly picture of relations with the new administration.

Russian media giant Kommersant reported that while Sergey Lavrov called the new administration and the interlocutors “business people” who “want to build a pragmatic relationship and solve problems,” the two countries are still trying to overcome American claims that Russia meddled in the United States democratic process.

Russian spies evicted

According to Reuters, President Obama expelled 35 suspected Russian spies at the end of December, following an investigation into Russian attempts to meddle in the election process. During the process, Russians were given 24 hours to vacate two Russian compounds located on American soil.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said he would refrain from any retaliatory actions, such as expelling American diplomats from his country, making clear his intentions to try and resolve the matter with the then-incoming President Trump’s administration.

“Further steps towards the restoration of Russian-American relations will be built on the basis of the policy which the administration of President D.

Trump will carry out,” said Putin in a statement reported by Reuters.

Then President-Elect Trump didn’t waste any time praising the Kremlin’s move. “Great move on delay (by V. Putin) - I always knew he was very smart!” read Trump’s tweet.

According to Kommersant, President Trump has told Russian diplomats that he’s ready to remove Obama-imposed limitations on one condition: if the Russian government agrees to allow the U.S.

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to expand the U.S. Consulate building in St. Petersburg. The Russian Federation previously granted the approval but revoked it amid deteriorating relations with the U.S.

Part of the limitations that would be overturned in the deal would include returning the two Russian compounds that President Obama ordered shuttered to the Russian government.

That seems like a bad deal to the Russians.

Russian officials point out that the property the U.S. has blocked them from entering is already owned by the Russian state, “They wanted land in exchange for something that belongs to us. This would be an unequal exchange,” said one official interviewed by Kommersant.

Russia threatens retaliation

Russian media also reports that if Trump and Putin can’t come to an agreement and build relations between the two nations, retaliation for President Obama’s removal of Russian spies is likely. That might mean less American access to Moscow, as Kommersant reports that the state may match diplomats person per person thus limiting the number of U.S. diplomats allowed in the Russian Federation.

Although previous Russian media reports suggested President Trump might meet with Putin in May, it seems that the two leaders are holding off until July to meet. That will be an important meeting as the outcome will determine whether or not the Russian Federation seeks sanctions against the United States relating to the deportation of their diplomats and the closure of their compounds in the U.S.