Russian Federation orders USA to cut embassy staff in retaliation for sanctions

Russian Federation could look at imposing economic counter-sanctions against the United States, the former official said, saying he thought that retaliation in Ukraine or Syria was less likely because it was more likely to lead to a USA counter response.

The Russian Foreign Ministry said it was also seizing a Moscow dacha compound used by USA diplomats for recreation, from 1 August, as well as a U.S. diplomatic warehouse in Moscow. Putin's spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, told reporters on Friday that the Senate vote was the last straw.

Russian Federation has also threatened to resort to additional retaliatory measures in case of new moves by Washington to reduce its diplomatic corps. Russian Federation said it reserved the right to take further measures if the USA retaliates.

On July 14, Moscow warned that it was running out of patience in light of the stalemate that followed the closure of two Russian diplomatic compounds in the USA, and mentioned possible retaliatory measures including the expulsion of diplomats.

The Russian Foreign Ministry warned it would respond in kind if Washington made a decision to expel any Russian diplomats.

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In December 2016, 35 Russian diplomats were expelled and two retreats in NY and Maryland used by Russian diplomats for recreation and receptions were closed by the administration of outgoing U.S. President Barack Obama over accusations of alleged Russian hacking during the presidential election.

Moscow said it would cut the US diplomatic corps even further if the USA decides to expel more Russian diplomats.

The Russian Foreign Ministry strongly criticized the latest package of sanctions approved by U.S. lawmakers on Tuesday.

The White House says Trump supports sanctions on the three countries in question and will review the legislation.

"We haven't seen the final version yet, so we haven't got any kind of definitive view on it", Putin said, "but we can see that over a lengthy period they are trying to provoke us more and more".

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"The United States under the absolutely invented pretext of Russian interference in their internal affairs takes one grossly anti-Russian action after another", the statement said.

The US expulsion of Russian diplomats "clearly violates the Vienna Convention on diplomatic relations and generally accepted diplomatic norms", it added.

Russia's tit-for-tat decision to expel hundreds of USA diplomats and seize two U.S. compounds may be an acknowledgment in Moscow that Trump's ability to bring better ties is limited, at best, and the start of a new downward spiral in relations.

Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov told Russian news agencies later Friday that he would not rule out further steps, adding that Russia's "toolbox" of how to react to the new sanctions "doesn't come down to" cutting the embassy staff and seizing the recreational retreat. "Ambassador Tefft expressed his strong disappointment and protest". Russian Federation will also close down the embassy's recreational retreat on the outskirts of Moscow as well as warehouse facilities.

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