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Russia Orders Cut in US Diplomats in Response to Sanctions | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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A man holds a Russian flag on the roof of the naval headquarters in Sevastopol, March 19, 2014. REUTERS/Vasily Fedosenko

Russia on Friday announced counter measures in response to tough new sanctions proposed by the US, ordering Washington to reduce its diplomatic staff in just over a month.

The Russian foreign ministry slammed what it called “extreme aggressiveness of the US in international affairs” and said Washington was using the “absolutely far-fetched pretext” of Moscow’s interference in its internal affairs to carry out “flagrantly anti-Russian actions.”

“Hiding behind its ‘exceptionalism’ the United States arrogantly ignores the positions and interests of other countries,” said the ministry.

It 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 added 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 on the outskirts of Moscow used by the US embassy from August 1.

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

President Vladimir Putin on Thursday slammed what he called “anti-Russian hysteria” in Washington and said that Moscow could not “endlessly tolerate this kind of insolence.”

Moscow complained that the “new sanctions bill showed with all clarity that relations with Russia have fallen hostage to the domestic political struggle 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.