After sanctions, Russian Federation orders USA to cut diplomatic staff

Ties between Russia and the US plummeted to their lowest point since the Cold War after the Kremlin's seizure of Crimea from Ukraine in 2014 saw Washington impose sanctions on Moscow. In

The ministry says the US has until September 1 to cut the number of its staff at the Moscow embassy and at three consulates to match the exact number of Russian diplomats who are working in the USA - 455 people, according to the ministry's announcement.

In addition, the US Embassy will not be allowed to use all storage facilities on Dorozhnaya Street in Moscow and country houses near in Serebryany Bor from August 1.

In late 2016, the Obama administration slapped a new batch of sanctions on Russia and expelled 35 Russian diplomats on the pretext of Moscow's alleged meddling in the U.S. presidential election.

Passed by the House of Representatives early this week, the Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act was passed by the Senate 98-2 votes.

There are believed to be now around 1,100 United States diplomats and staff in the country. "In the event of further unilateral action on behalf of USA officials to reduce the Russian diplomatic mission in the U.S., we will respond accordingly", it added.

Putin said Moscow would only decide on how to retaliate once it had seen the final text of the proposed law. Those sanctions also include punishments for Iran and North Korea.

On Thursday, the Senate voted overwhelmingly to approve a bill imposing new economic sanctions on three countries - Iran, North Korea and Russian Federation.

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The bill would affect a range of Russian industries and might further hurt the Russian economy, already weakened by 2014 sanctions imposed after Russia annexed Crime from Ukraine.

Heavy support for the bill from Republicans and Democrats in the House and Senate has effectively scuttled the potential for Trump to derail the legislation.

If he opts for a veto, the bill can become law anyway if two-thirds of both the House and Senate vote for an override.

At the same time he said he regretted Russia's worsening relations with the United States.

Trump's vow to extend a hand of cooperation to Russian President Vladimir Putin has been met with resistance as skeptical lawmakers look to limit the executive power's leeway to go easy on Moscow over its meddling in the 2016 presidential election.

"We know that we have many friends in the United States, we know that there are lots of people with common sense", Putin added.

The European Union fears the new USA restrictions could be an obstacle to its companies doing business with Russian Federation and threaten the bloc's energy supply lines, but the 28-country bloc is divided over how to respond. U.S. Embassy spokeswoman Maria Olson could not immediately say what kind of cut would have to be made to meet Russia's new requirements.

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