Russian Federation boots USA diplomats in retaliation for new sanctions

US expresses 'strong disappointment and protest' over Russia retaliation

The Russian Foreign Ministry's statement said the passage of the bill confirmed "the extreme aggression of the United States in worldwide affairs".

On Thursday, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that Russia is behaving patiently amid sanctions, but the time will come when Moscow will be forced to respond to arrogance, adding that if adopted, the USA anti-Russia sanctions bill would be an "extra-cynical move".

Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov told Russian news agencies later Friday that he would not rule out further steps, adding that Russia's "toolbox" of how to react to the new sanctions "doesn't come down to" cutting the embassy staff and seizing the recreational retreat.

Trump has denied any collusion between his associates and Moscow and termed the Russian investigation "a witch hunt".

Earlier, U.S. Ambassador John Tefft "expressed his strong disappointment and protest" at the development, a spokesperson at the embassy in Moscow told AFP.

The European Union has also threatened to retaliate against new United States 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.

The Russian Foreign Ministry said the U.S. had until September 1 to reduce its diplomatic staff in Russia to 455 people, the number of Russian diplomats left in the United States after Washington expelled 35 Russians in December.

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday approved the Foreign Ministry's measure to downsize the number of personnel in U.S. diplomatic and consular missions to 455.

It also said it was barring the USA embassy from using a Moscow summer house and storage facility in the city from August 1.

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If the bill passes the Senate , it would be sent to the White House for Trump to sign into law or veto. Russian Federation said it reserved the right to take further measures if the USA retaliates.

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 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.

Republicans and Democrats had urged Trump to quickly sign the measure into law after the House and Senate cleared it with veto-proof majorities in both chambers.

The bill underwent revisions to address concerns voiced by American oil and natural gas companies that sanctions specific to Russia's energy sector could backfire on them to Moscow's benefit.

Lavrov added, however, that Moscow was "ready to normalize the bilateral relations with the USA and cooperate on important worldwide issues".

As the below infographic shows, the United States imports more goods from Russian Federation than it exports, according to data provided by the U.S. Census Bureau.

If confirmed that Russia's move would affect hundreds of staff at the United States embassy, it would far outweigh the Obama administration's expulsion of 35 Russians in December.

"The Congress of the United States has sent a clear message tonight to the governments of the Russian Federation, Iran and North Korea there will be consequences for their unsafe, destabilising activities against our country, our allies, our interests and our values", said Senator Ben Cardin, Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Obama at the same time expelled 35 Russian diplomats for spying.

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