Russia's Foreign Ministry ordered a reduction in the number of US diplomats in Russian Federation on Friday and said it was closing down a USA recreational retreat in response to fresh sanctions against Russian Federation.
Russia's response, announced by the Foreign Ministry, came a day after the US Senate voted to slap new sanctions on Russian Federation, putting President Donald Trump in a tough position by forcing him to take a hard line on Moscow or veto the legislation and anger his own Republican Party.
The statement comes after Moscow's decision to reduce the number of USA diplomatic staff in Russian Federation and suspend the use of American embassy storage facilities.
Investigations into Russia's alleged meddling in the US presidential elections were merely a symptom of growing anti-Russian hysteria in the United States, Putin said.
In the statement, the ministry says: "Any new unilateral actions by the USA authorities to reduce the number of our diplomats in the United States will be met with a mirror response". "We have passed the notification back to Washington for review", the statement said.
President Donald Trump is likely to sign a tough new sanctions bill that includes proposed measures targeting Russian Federation - a remarkable concession that the president has yet to sell his party on his hopes for forging a warmer relationship with Moscow.
Russian Federation is also suspending the use of a U.S. storage facility in Moscow and a country house, or dacha, outside of Moscow by August 1. "That doesn't make any sense", said Edward Fishman, a former State Department official during the Obama administration who worked on US sanctions policy.
The Senate backed the bill, which also imposes sanctions on Iran and North Korea, by a margin of 98-2 with strong support from Trump's fellow Republicans as well as Democrats. Congress would have needed two-thirds' votes in both chambers.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told journalists on a conference call Friday that Moscow had made a decision to retaliate before the bill went to Trump because "technically the form passed by the Senate is more important" and is "almost final".
The U.S. bill, which also imposes new sanctions on Iran and North Korea, had been delayed while lawmakers resolved procedural issues and revised language that energy companies said would prevent many overseas deals.
"The new bill uses political means to create a dishonest competitive advantage for the USA in the global economy".
Putin said on a visit to Finland on Thursday that Russian Federation was "exercising restraint and patience, but at some moment we'll have to retaliate".