Russia Orders US Embassy Staff Cuts in Sanctions Retaliation

Russian Foreign Ministry retaliates against strengthening of US sanctions

In December, President Barack Obama expelled 35 Russian diplomats and seized two estates, one on Long Island and one on Chesapeake Bay in Maryland, in response to Russia meddling in the United States presidential election.

Russia's retaliation, outlined in a statement from the Foreign Ministry, came a day after the Senate voted to slap new sanctions on Russian Federation.

Relations between the two countries, already at a post-Cold War low, have deteriorated even further after USA intelligence agencies accused Russian Federation of trying to meddle in last year's US presidential election, something Moscow flatly denies.

Russia has ordered the United States to reduce its diplomatic and technical staff at its Embassy in Moscow and diplomatic missions in other Russian cities in response to a U.S. Senate vote to impose tougher sanctions on Russia, the Foreign Ministry said on Friday.

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"The latest events show that in well-known circles in the United States, Russophobia and a course toward open confrontation with our country have taken hold", the Foreign Ministry said.

An official at the United States embassy in Moscow, who declined to be named because they were not allowed to speak to the media, said there were around 1,100 USA diplomatic staff in Russian Federation. "As part of our reciprocal steps we reserve the right for other measures, which could have an impact on the interests of the United States", the statement added. That included Russian citizens and U.S. citizens.

Russian Federation ordered the USA to cut its diplomatic staff by September 1 and said it was seizing a dacha compound and warehouse used by U.S. diplomats.

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