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The U.S. retaliated Thursday against Vladimir Putin's move to force the U.S. to reduce its embassy staff in Russia by 755. Putin had made that move in response to looming U.S. sanctions, since signed by President Trump.

The tit-for-tat began last December, after Barack Obama seized two Russian compounds in the U.S., accusing the Kremlin of using them as spy bases. In the interim, President Trump had been considering returning those Russian compounds, including a beautiful 45-acre estate in Maryland, after Russia warned relations couldn't improve until Trump did so.

Axios went to Maryland in July to look at the summer retreat at the heart of U.S.-Russia relations.

1972
  • Soviet Union purchases 45-acre estate near the town of Centreville on Maryland's Eastern Shore, to be used as a diplomatic retreat. Another facility, on Long Island in New York, was purchased in 1952.
2016
  • Oct. 31: Barack Obama warns Putin of "serious consequences" for Russian interference in U.S. election.
  • Nov. 8: Trump elected president.
  • Dec. 29: Obama orders the compounds closed, accusing Russia of using them for espionage and expelling 35 suspected Russian spies.
  • Dec. 30: Putin doesn't retaliate immediately, preferring to work with the Trump administration. Michael Flynn had reportedly made assurances that Trump would be more accommodating. Trump tweets: "Great move on delay (by V. Putin) - I always knew he was very smart!"
2017
  • Jan. 20: Trump inaugurated as president.
  • March 31: Washington Post reports that the Trump administration is moving toward returning the compounds.
  • July 7: Putin raises the compounds in a meeting with Trump at the G20 in Hamburg, Germany.
  • July 14: A Kremlin spokeswoman says Russia is prepared to use "means of retaliation" if the compounds aren't returned.
  • July 17: A high-level meeting at State Department centers on the compounds, with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov saying the sides were "close" to an agreement.
  • July 18: With that agreement still not reached, Russia warns again of its "right to take retaliatory measures." Ryabkov says the fact that the compounds haven't been returned "poisons the atmosphere." The State Department says it wants to get past such "irritations" and move on to more substantive issues, but doesn't offer a timetable for when the compounds might be returned.
  • July 28: Russia seizes two U.S. diplomatic compounds, and orders the U.S. embassy in Moscow to reduce its staffing levels, a day after Congress had passed new sanctions on Russia.
  • Aug.10: Trump thanks Putin for his move, saying it will cut costs for the U.S.
  • Aug. 31: U.S. forces Russia to close San Francisco consulate and cut presence in D.C.

Go deeper

The hard math behind America's labor shortage

Data: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Congressional Budget Office; Chart: Axios Visuals

Yes, the pandemic has created unusual temporary labor market dynamics. But in the bigger picture, the 2010s were a golden age for companies seeking cheap labor. The 2020s are not.

The big picture: In the 2010s, the massive millennial generation was entering the workforce, the massive baby bo0m generation was still hard at work, and there was a multi-year hangover from the deep recession caused by the global financial crisis.

Advocates fret Roe v. Wade's 49th anniversary could be its last

Photo: Leigh Vogel/Getty Images for Women's March Inc

As Saturday marks the 49th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court's landmark decision that legalized abortion access in the U.S., advocates warn the ruling is "more at risk now than ever."

The big picture: The Supreme Court in December heard a challenge to a Mississippi 15-week abortion ban that could throw Roe's survival into question, or at least narrow its scope.

Updated 11 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

  1. Health: Pfizer and Moderna boosters overwhelmingly prevent Omicron hospitalizations, CDC finds — Omicron pushes COVID deaths toward 2,000 per day — The pandemic-proof health care giant.
  2. Vaccines: The case for Operation Warp Speed 2.0 — Starbucks drops worker vaccine or test requirement after SCOTUS ruling — Kids' COVID vaccination rates are particularly low in rural America.
  3. Politics: Biden concedes U.S. should have done more testing — Arizona says it "will not be intimidated" by Biden on anti-mask school policies — Federal judge blocks Biden's vaccine mandate for federal workers.
  4. World: American Airlines flight to London forced to turn around over mask dispute — WHO: COVID health emergency could end this year — Greece imposes vaccine mandate for people 60 and older — Austria approves COVID vaccine mandate for adults.
  5. Variant tracker