Trump's Foreign Policy Is Jeopardized After Senate Approves Sanctions Against Russia

Stung by new American sanctions, Russia's Foreign Ministry says the USA must downsize its diplomatic and technical staff in Moscow and other cities.

US President Donald Trump plans to sign legislation slapping punitive sanctions on Russia, Iran and North Korea that the Congress approved this week, the White House has said.

The Russian strongman criticised the probe into Russian meddling in the United States presidential election, saying that he "does not see this as an investigation".

Moscow has told the USA to reduce the number of its diplomatic staff in Russia to 455 people, and is also halting the use of embassy storage facilities in the capital, according to the Russian Foreign Ministry.

"The Russian side is suspending the use of all storage facilities on Dorozhnaya Street in Moscow, and a cottage in Serebryaniy Bor by the US Embassy in Russia as of August 1", the ministry said in a statement.

Meanwhile, Tillerson and South Korea's Foreign Affairs Minister Kang Kyung-wha held a telephone conversation Thursday night, Seoul time, to reinforce the bilateral alliance, State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauret said in a briefing.

Russian news agency Interfax reported that the US would have to cut "hundreds" of its staff.

Moscow is already the subject of tough U.S. sanctions over its annexation of Crimea from Ukraine and support for a bloody insurgency in the country.

"We will respond to the new possible sanctions against Russian Federation according to the latest version of the bill evaluated by Washington", Putin said during a meeting with Finnish President Sauli Niinisto at the country's Savonlinna province.

The bill underwent revisions to address concerns voiced by American oil and natural gas companies that sanctions specific to Russia's energy sector could backfire on them to Moscow's benefit.

Russia's Foreign Ministry dismissed the new sanctions as "creating unfair competitive advantages for the USA economy". The US Embassy said Tefft had expressed his "strong disappointment and protest".

The retaliatory measures would mirror the White House's decision in December previous year to confiscate two Russian diplomatic compounds in NY and Maryland and expel 35 Russian diplomats from the country.

"What we are seeing (in the US) is merely anti-Russia hysteria", Putin said, in response to a question from CNN about the state of the relationship in light of the investigation in the US Congress into allegations of Russian election meddling and the possible tightening of US sanctions.

The sanctions bill was received by the White House at 1:53 pm (1753 GMT), a USA government source told AFP.

However, even if Trump vetoes the bill it could still become law, as it likely has enough support from lawmakers to override a veto.

Latest News