US shuts two Russian luxury retreats

CENTREVILLE, Md. — Two luxury retreats in New York and Maryland where Russian diplomats have gone for decades to play tennis, sail and swim were shut down by the Obama administration Friday in retaliation for Moscow’s cyber-meddling in the presidential election.


The U.S. said the two Cold War-era estates were being used for intelligence activities.

About a half-hour before the noon deadline, caravans of diplomatic vehicles, some carrying boxes, left both Russian compounds under the watch of U.S. State Department agents.

The 45-acre Maryland retreat boasts a brick mansion along the Corsica River in the bucolic Eastern Shore region. Reports indicate it was bought by the Soviet Union in 1972 and served as a getaway for its diplomats in nearby Washington.

In New York, Russian diplomatic staff members were evicted from a mansion on Long Island’s Gold Coast. The estate, once called Elmcroft, is in the town of Oyster Bay and was purchased by the Soviets in 1952.

Russian U.N. Ambassador Vitaly Churkin told reporters at U.N. headquarters that the Obama administration was destroying holiday fun for the children of Russian diplomats.

“I think it’s quite scandalous that they chose to throw out our kids,” he said. “They know full well that those two facilities they mentioned, they are vacation facilities for our kids and this is Christmas, and this is vacation time for our schools. This is the time when the kids go to those facilities. So to close our access to them just while those holidays were starting, to me was rather…

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