U.S. expresses 'strong disappointment and protest' over Russian Federation retaliation

Kristopher Drake
July 30, 2017

The ministry says the USA has until September 1 to cut the number of its staff at the Moscow embassy and at three consulates to match the exact number of Russian diplomats who are working in the US - 455 people, according to the ministry's announcement.

The move was Moscow's way of retaliating one day after the U.S. Senate passed a final sanctions bill that targets Russia, Iran and North Korea, sending it to President Trump's desk.

Russia's Foreign Ministry has ordered a reduction in the number of US diplomats in Russian Federation and said it was closing down a USA recreation retreat in response to fresh sanctions against Russian Federation. The ministry is also suspending the U.S. Embassy's use of two sites - a storage facility and a dacha on an island in the Moscow River.

A diplomatic source told Reuters that it would be for the United States to decide which posts to cut, whether occupied by usa or Russian nationals.

Russian Federation still seems to hold out hope for dialogue with Trump, asking for cooperation despite the strong opposition elsewhere in the US government.

The new sanctions were in part a response to the agencies' findings that Russian Federation did meddle in the election, and to further punish Russian Federation for its annexation of Crimea in 2014.

"The latest events confirm that certain circles in the USA are fixated on Russophobia and open confrontation with our country", according to a Foreign Ministry statement.

The new package of sanctions aims to hit President Vladimir Putin and his inner circle by targeting alleged corrupt officials, human rights abusers and crucial sectors of the Russian economy, including weapons sales and energy exports.

Trump now faces an even tougher decision.

Russian President Vladimir Putin tossed President-elect Donald Trump a bouquet in December when he chose not to retaliate for the U.S. expulsion of Russian diplomats and seizure of Russian diplomatic compounds.

Obama also ordered Russia's Foreign Ministry to leave two compounds it owns in Maryland and NY.

Putin said at the time that he would wait to see how Trump handled the issue before responding, and Trump praised his restraint.

Germany's foreign minister says his country won't accept new US sanctions against Russian Federation being applied to European companies but is underlining Berlin's hopes of coordinating policy toward Moscow.

The spokesperson declined to comment on the current number of USA diplomats and staff in Russia, but Russian wires cited "informed sources" saying hundreds of people would have to leave.

The European Union has also threatened to retaliate against new USA sanctions on Russia, saying they would harm the bloc's energy security by targeting projects including a planned new pipeline to bring Russian natural gas to northern Europe.

That number is 455, according to Russian Federation, but it is unclear how many Americans are now serving in Russian Federation.

A European Commission spokesman in Brussels gave a non-committal response to the Senate vote, saying: "We will be watching how this process unfolds and then of course we will be watching equally attentively how this law, if and when it enters into force, will be applied in practice".

Other reports by Ligue1talk

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