Russia Retaliates For Sanctions Approval, Hitting At US Diplomatic Corps

Moscow said on Friday that the United States had until September 1 to reduce its diplomatic staff in Russia to 455 people, matching the number of Russian diplomats left in the United States after Washington expelled 35 Russians in December.

US Ambassador to Russia John Tefft has expressed his "strong disappointment and protest" over Moscow's decision to expel the US diplomats, according to a statement to CNN from the US Embassy in Moscow.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, has denied that his country interfered with the U.S. election a year ago.

Paris had previously termed the United States bill "illegal" in global law, while Berlin had warned its businesses, particularly a controversial pipeline project between Russian Federation and Germany, must not be targeted.

She says the president has "reviewed the final version and, based on its responsiveness to his negotiations, approves the bill and intends to sign it". "We hope that there will be cooperation between our two countries on major global issues and these sanctions will no longer be necessary".

Russian Federation on Friday ordered a reduction in the number of USA diplomats allowed in Russian Federation and said it was closing down a US recreational retreat in response to the US approval of a new package of stiff financial sanctions against Russian Federation. The bill is yet to be approved by US President Donald Trump, but Moscow sees little chance that the American leader would veto it. "But it looks like, it's not going to change in the near future", Putin said.

Republican lawmakers also pointed to North Korea's latest missile test as yet another reason for Trump to sign the bill, which also includes new sanctions against North Korea and Iran.

The previous statement had also said that a summer house and warehouse used by the U.S. embassy in Moscow would be closed down.

Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Bob Corker, who helped broker the Senate sanctions deal, said he spoke to both the President and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in recent days about the bill.

President Vladimir Putin on Thursday slammed what he called "anti-Russian hysteria" in Washington and said that Russia could not "endlessly tolerate this kind of insolence". Lawmakers say they want to prevent the president from acting on his own to lift penalties imposed by the previous administration for meddling in last year's US election and for aggression in Ukraine.

The deputy foreign minister would not specify what Russia's plans for retaliation consist of, but said that the country has "a very rich toolbox at our disposal". The current United States administration has also failed to change the situation.

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