Putin Is Kicking Hundreds Of American Diplomats Out Of Russia

Ryan Pickrell | China/Asia Pacific Reporter

Russian President Vladimir Putin is kicking 755 American diplomats out of the country in response to punitive U.S. policies.

“The American side has made a move which, it is important to note, hasn’t been provoked by anything, to worsen Russian-US relations. [It includes] unlawful restrictions, attempts to influence other states of the world, including our allies, who are interested in developing and keeping relations with Russia,” Putin explained to a local television host Sunday.

“We’ve been waiting for quite a long time that maybe something would change for the better, we had hopes that the situation would change. But it looks like, it’s not going to change in the near future … I decided that it is time for us to show that we will not leave anything unanswered,” he added.

The Russian government appears to be following through on promises to evict hundreds of diplomats and seize American diplomatic properties in response to new sanctions legislation. Putin warned Thursday that his government would retaliate if the U.S. continued to impose “illegal” sanctions on Russia.

“We are exercising restraint and patience, but at some moment we’ll have to retaliate. It’s impossible to endlessly tolerate this boorishness towards our country,” he said.

The U.S. Congress passed new sanctions on Russia, Iran, and North Korea Thursday, and Congress is pushing to pass legislation that would require President Donald Trump to get approval from the legislative branch before lifting sanctions on Russia.

“I think this retaliation is long, long overdue,” Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said on ABC’s “This Week” earlier, adding, “We have a very rich toolbox at our disposal. It would be ridiculous on my part to start speculating on what may or may not happen. I can assure you that different options are on the table and consideration is being given to all sorts of things, both symmetrical or asymmetrical, to use a very popular word in the world of diplomacy.”

Putin does not see relations between the U.S. and Russia improving anytime soon. He assesses that internal political issues are unnecessarily souring relations between the two countries.

“It’s very sad that U.S.-Russian relations are being sacrificed to resolve internal policy issues in the U.S,” Putin told reporters Thursday. “It’s a pity, because acting together we could be solving jointly the most acute problems that worry the peoples of Russia and the United States much more efficiently.”

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