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Russia retaliates against sanctions, asks US to cut diplomatic staff to 455

The ministry said that this was in response to the passing of a new bill on sanctions by the Senate

AFP | PTI  |  Moscow 

Russia, US, flag
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Russia's foreign ministry today announced counter measures in response to tough new sanctions proposed by the United States, ordering to reduce its diplomatic staff.

Moscow ordered the US to reduce its diplomatic presence in to 455 diplomats and staff and also barred it from using a Moscow summer house and storage facility.

The ministry said that this was in response to the passing of a new bill on sanctions by the Senate late yesterday. US President Donald Trump will now have to decide whether to accept or veto the measures.

President on Thursday slammed what he called "anti-Russian hysteria" in and said that could not "endlessly tolerate this kind of insolence."

Moscow complained that the "new sanctions bill showed with all clarity that relations with have fallen hostage to the domestic in the US."

It warned that it "reserves the right to carry out other measures that could affect the interests of the US" while acting in a reciprocal fashion.

The move comes after Russia has repeatedly expressed anger at barring its diplomats access to two compounds in the US in December last year, under Barack Obama, in response to suspected Russian meddling in the US election.

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

President initially held off from retaliating, saying he would wait to see how Trump reacted after he came into the

Trump and Putin discussed this diplomatic spat at their first meeting at the G20 in Hamburg this month.

Russia's deputy foreign minister Sergei Ryabkov had said after subsequent talks in Washington that the matter was "almost" resolved.

The Russian foreign ministry on Friday slammed what it called "extreme aggressiveness of the US in affairs" and said Washington was using the "absolutely far- fetched pretext of Russia's interference in its internal affairs" to carry out "flagrantly anti-Russian actions."

The ministry said "We propose to the US side to bring the number of diplomatic and technical staff" working in Russia "in exact accordance" with the number of Russian diplomats and support staff in the United States by September 1.

It said that this would reduce the number of US diplomats and staff to 455.

The ministry also said it would bar access to a summer house and storage facilities in Moscow used by the US embassy from August 1.

First Published: Fri, July 28 2017. 16:27 IST