Kremlin asks US to cut diplomatic staff in sanctions row

Russia’s Foreign Ministry has asked the US to cut the number of its diplomats in Russia, responding to anti-Russian sanctions endorsed by the US Senate, Deutsche Welle reports.

The decision to boost sanctions against Russia showed “extreme aggression” of the US in the international arena, the Russian Foreign Ministry said while detailing its counter-measures in a Friday statement.

Moscow called on the US to reduce the number of its diplomatic staff in Russia to 455, in order to match the number of Russian diplomats in the US. Russia will also “mirror” any further expulsions of Russian diplomats, the ministry added.

Also, Russian authorities said they would seize a vacation home used by American diplomats outside of Moscow, as well as warehouse in the Russian capital.

Russian officials also slammed the US sanctions, saying they are motivated by “absolutely imaginary allegations of Russian involvement in their internal matters.”

Russian president Vladimir Putin approved the Russian counter-measures, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Friday. Peskov added that the Kremlin did not wait for Trump to sign the bill before responding, as the bill was “almost fully defined” after going through the US Senate.


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