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Russia Orders Big Cut in US Diplomatic Staff in Moscow

01 Agosto 2017, 03:47 | Bibiana Flor

Russia Orders Big Cut in US Diplomatic Staff in Moscow

Trump emboldens friendly foreign leaders leaves foes wary

Putin said on Sunday Russia had ordered the United States to cut 755 of its 1,200 embassy and consulate staff by September, and was seizing two diplomatic properties. In addition to that, a number of properties in Russia, including those used for holidays by American diplomats have also been seized by the Russians.

Be that as it may, the diplomatic dustup is something of a sign that any hopes Russian Federation had for rapprochement with the United States under Trump have been dashed.

The White House said it would sign a Congressional bill slapping new sanctions on Moscow for meddling in the 2016 presidential election and for its military actions in Syria.

In December, the Obama administration ordered the seizure of two Russian diplomatic compounds and expelled 35 Russian diplomats in response to alleged hacking of the US Democratic Party and Hillary Clinton's campaign.

At the time, the co-founder of anti-censorship group Greatfire.org - using the false name Charlie Smith - said it was unclear if the internet services industry would comply with China's orders to expose VPNs. "But he's confirmed his belief and our intelligence that Russian Federation was involved in meddling in USA elections and it's part of what inspired the bipartisan action in the Congress to codify the sanctions that our administration has been implementing against Russian Federation and will continue to advance that". The convoy was refused access, the journalist reported.

PRESIDENT VLADIMIR PUTIN, Russia (through interpreter): We had waited quite a long time and thought something might change for the better. "We have, of course, what to say and limit the areas of our joint activity that will be sensitive to the American side, but I do not think we should do this, as it will harm not only Russian-American relations as such - it will cause certain damage to us too", Putin said.

"This is a regrettable and uncalled-for act", the US State Department said Monday in a statement.

"But it seems that even if the situation is changing, it's not for anytime soon".

Embassy employees in Moscow were on Monday anxiously waiting to hear if they would keep their jobs. Tefft described the Russian decision as unfair, but provided no details about the cuts, a person at the meeting told Reuters.

But he said it "only hears" false charges of Russian interference.

Peskov defended the downsizing of American diplomatic staff in light of increasing anti-Russia sentiments in the US، saying if Washington really wanted to mend ties with Moscow، it should first cure "the worsening political schizophrenia" in the US.

According to the government, the rules are being put in place to prohibit the glorification of "luxurious lifestyles" and ensure that citizens adhere to "core socialist values".

On its face, the 755 figue is extremely high, if not unprecedented: A similar purge hasn't been carried out since 1986, when the Soviet Union forced the U.S. to dismiss 261 Russian employees after an escalating diplomatic imbroglio.



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