Russian Federation orders out U.S. diplomats in sanctions retaliation
- Author: Megan Austin Jul 31, 2017,
Jul 31, 2017, 0:52
"We have received the Russian government notification".
Relations between the two countries, already at a post-Cold War low, have deteriorated even further after USA intelligence agencies accused Russian Federation of trying to meddle in last year's US presidential election, something Moscow flatly denies.
Russian state television channel Rossiya 24 said over 700 staff would be affected but that was not confirmed by the foreign ministry or the USA embassy. His vow to extend a hand of cooperation to Russian President Vladimir Putin has been met with resistance as skeptical lawmakers look to limit the president's leeway to go easy on Moscow over its meddling in the 2016 presidential election.
An official at the USA embassy in Moscow, who declined to be named because they were not allowed to speak to the media, said there were around 1,100 US diplomatic staff in Russian Federation.
The legislation is aimed at punishing Moscow for interfering in the 2016 presidential election and for its military aggression in Ukraine and Syria, where the Kremlin has backed President Bashar Assad.
But even if Trump wanted to veto the sanctions bill, Browder said he would be stopped by Congress.
"This means that the total number of personnel involved in the American diplomatic and consular institutions in the Russian Federation is reduced to 455".
On Friday, the Russian Foreign Ministry suspended the use of all U.S. embassy warehouses and its compound in Moscow and also offered the USA to cut down the number of its diplomatic staff in Russia to 455 people by September 1.
Germany's foreign minister said his country wouldn't accept the US sanctions against Russian Federation being applied to European companies.
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While the secretary of state sought to quell tensions, Trump came out with a tweet that essentially sided with the Saudis. He said he didn't want to address or respond to Scaramucci's insults because "it doesn't honour the president".
The new United States sanctions were drawn up in part to punish Russian Federation further for annexing Crimea from Ukraine in 2014.
It also said it was barring the USA embassy from using a Moscow summer house and storage facility in the city from August 1.
A top White House aide said yesterday that Mr Trump might veto the legislation in order to push for a tougher deal.
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.
The move comes after Russia has repeatedly expressed anger at Washington barring its diplomats access to two compounds in the U.S. in December previous year, under Barack Obama, in response to suspected Russian meddling in the U.S. election.
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.
"The near unanimous votes for the sanctions legislation in Congress represent the strong will of the American people to see Russian Federation take steps to improve relations with the United States", he said. That was over an alleged Kremlin hacking and influence campaign to sway the 2016 US elections in favour of Trump.
Obama at the same time expelled 35 Russian diplomats for spying.