In his first major response to new U.S. sanctions approved by Congress,president Vladimir Putin has ordered the United States to cut its diplomatic staff in Russia by 755 people. The Russian leader said more actions may follow, soon.
Moscow also gave the U.S a Sept 1 deadline and said it would seize two U.S. diplomatic properties …
This comes after the White House said on Friday that U.S. President Donald Trump would sign the sanctions bill.
Putin said in an interview with Vesti TV released on Sunday.
“The American side has made a move which, it is important to note, hasn’t been provoked by anything, to worsen Russian-US relations. [It includes] unlawful restrictions, attempts to influence other states of the world, including our allies, who are interested in developing and keeping relations with Russia,We’ve been waiting for quite a long time that maybe something would change for the better, we had hopes that the situation would change. But it looks like, it’s not going to change in the near future… I decided that it is time for us to show that we will not leave anything unanswered.”“Because more than 1,000 workers – diplomats and support staff – were working and are still working in Russia, 755 must stop their activity in the Russian Federation,” he said.
Moscow said on Friday that the United States had until Sept. 1 to reduce its diplomatic staff in Russia to 455 people, matching the number of Russian diplomats left in the United States after Washington expelled 35 Russians in December.
On Friday, an official at the U.S. Embassy, who did not wish to be identified, said the embassy employed about 1,100 diplomatic and support staff in Russia, including Russian and U.S. citizens.