World

Russia Orders US To Cut Diplomatic Staff In Response To Sanctions

Russia has given the U.S. until Sept. 1 to cut its diplomatic staff to 455 in response to new sanctions against the Kremlin.

The number matches the staffing level at Russia’s embassy in Washington, D.C. U.S. Embassy spokeswoman Maria Olson did not immediately know how many people would have to leave to meet the Russia demand, the Associated Press reports.

Additionally, Russia’s foreign ministry said in a statement Friday that it will seize a dacha compound and warehouse used by American diplomats.

“The U.S. is stubbornly taking one crudely anti-Russian step after another, using the utterly fictitious pretext of Russian interference in its internal affairs,” the foreign ministry said.

The retaliation comes just a day after the U.S. Senate passed sanctions against Russia in a 98-2 vote. The bill — which also punishes North Korea and Iran — is a response to Russia’s 2014 annexation of the Ukrainian territory of Crimea and interference in the U.S. presidential election.

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Russian President Vladimir Putin said Thursday that he would retaliate if the bill against his country is signed into law.

“We are behaving in a very restrained and patient way, but at some moment we will need to respond,” Putin said at a press conference during his state visit to Finland.

White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders has hinted that President Donald Trump will accept the bill despite previous objections.

“He’s going to study that legislation and see what the final product looks like,” Sanders told reporters during a Monday press briefing on Air Force One.

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