Russia Retaliates For Sanctions Approval, Hitting At US Diplomatic Corps
Jul 31, 2017, 00:56
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.
Tefft referred to Moscow's decision to reduce the number of United States diplomats in Russian Federation to 455 by September 1, as well as the suspension of the use of all storage facilities by the U.S. embassy as of August 1.
"The United States under the absolutely invented pretext of Russian interference in their internal affairs takes one grossly anti-Russian action after another", the statement said.
"We reserve the right on other mutual measures, which can affect United States interests".
In a phone call later with U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov insisted that the measures from Moscow were a "necessary step", his ministry said.
It was not immediately clear how many USA diplomats and other workers would be forced to leave the country.
"However, this is possible only on the basis of equality, mutual respect and a balancing of interests", the ministry statement added. The US Embassy said Tefft had expressed his "strong disappointment and protest".
Moscow has already responded, ordering a reduction in the number of U.S. diplomats in Russian Federation and closing the U.S. Embassy's recreation retreat.
The punishment announced by Moscow closely resembled punitive measures announced by then President Barack Obama in December.
"Neither action will help the U.S. -Russia relationship, which was already at a hard level", said Pifer.
In December 2016, 35 Russian diplomats were expelled and two retreats in NY and Maryland used by Russian diplomats for recreation and receptions were closed by the administration of outgoing U.S. President Barack Obama over accusations of alleged Russian hacking during the presidential election.
President Vladimir Putin had warned on Thursday that Russian Federation had so far exercised restraint, but would have to retaliate against what he described as boorish and unreasonable USA behaviour.
The legislation, could put strain on Trump's ability to improve ties with Russia, which he has vocally pursued, but has been restrained by the allegations that his associates had contacts with Russian officials during the election campaign.
Russian Federation on Friday ordered a reduction in the number of US diplomats allowed in Russian Federation and said it was closing down a USA recreational retreat in response to the USA approval of a new package of stiff financial sanctions against Russian Federation.
Russian Federation denies it interfered in the election and Trump has said there was no collusion.
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