Russian Federation orders USA to cut diplomats in response to sanctions

Russia orders cut in number of US diplomats in response to new sanctions

Putin, at a news conference with Finnish President Sauli Niinisto, also spoke about former President 's order last December to seize Russian diplomatic property in the United States and to expel 35 Russian diplomats.

The European Union is remaining vigilant about the package of new US sanctions on Russian Federation, amid fears the penalties could harm the bloc's energy security and impact European companies.

Currently, close to 1,200 employees work at the United States' embassy and consulates in Russia, according to USA and Russian data.

Putin said Sunday that the cut will make the size of the USA diplomatic mission in his country roughly equal to that of Russia's diplomatic corps in the U.S.

Both houses of Congress passed the bill - which also slaps sanctions on Iran and North Korea - with almost unanimous bipartisan support. The bill also would give Congress veto power to block any easing of those sanctions.

An official in the White House wouldn't say whether Trump would sign it, saying only that they are reviewing the bill and that the administration supports sanctions against the three countries.

The Foreign Ministry's action comes one day after the prospect of new punishments clearly rankled the Kremlin.

Asked if Russian President Vladimir Putin had authorized the move, Peskov said such measures are "impossible without the President's permission".

" 'I believe an easing of tensions, and improved relations with Russian Federation from a position of strength only, is possible, absolutely possible, ' Trump said a year ago at a campaign speech in Washington". The sanctions also included the closure of two Russian compounds, in Maryland and NY, used for intelligence purposes.

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"To waive sanctions on Russia, Trump would have to send Congress a report explaining and justifying his decision, and lawmakers would then get 30 days to decide whether to allow it".

But there was "very little political space or rational for Trump to veto", said Aaron David Miller, a vice president at the Wilson Center, said prior to the White House announcement Friday night.

Mr Putin told Russia's Vesti TV in an interview released Sunday local time that 755 U.S. diplomatic and technical staff would have to leave Russian Federation by September 1.

Ryabkov called the bill "a completely weird and unacceptable piece of legislation", and said it was "the last drop" before Russian Federation chose to take action against the U.S.

Russia's Foreign Ministry said the new sanctions law "confirms the extreme aggressiveness of the United States in its foreign affairs".

He said a lot of Russian diplomats had been expelled "without any particular reason" and warned that Russia would have to respond at some point to what he called "boorish behavior".

It said that this would reduce the number of US diplomats and staff to 455. The sanctions measure has already passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 419-3.

He added that sanctions are not "an appropriate instrument to promote national export interests and the domestic energy industry".

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