Putin Says He's Ordering 755 American Diplomats Out of Russia

Elias Hubbard
July 31, 2017

"We're evaluating the Russian notification and considering various options at this time", a State Department official told CNN.

It was not clear then how many reassignments that would mean from the Moscow embassy and the three USA consulates in Russian Federation.

Putin said more than 1,000 people are now employed at the Moscow embassy and three USA consulates in Russian Federation.

Obama expelled members of Russia's diplomatic corps, ordered Russia's Foreign Ministry to vacate two compounds it owns in Maryland and NY and sanctioned Russia's mining and oil industries.

Trump also tweeted early last Saturday, saying "Russia was against Trump in the 2016 election" and linking to a news story from Fox and Friends.

Tensions between the US and Russian Federation have deepened since the election, despite a relatively warm relationship between Trump and Putin.

The bill, which gives Congress new powers to block Mr Trump from easing sanctions against Moscow, passed the Senate 98-2 having passed the House earlier in the week.

But the White House said President Donald Trump is happy with the Bill and will sign it into law, after which it can be reversed only by Congress. Its response suggests it has set aside initial hopes of better ties with Washington under Trump, something the U.S. leader, before he was elected, said he wanted.

The votes for passage would far exceed the two-thirds supermajorities needed in each chamber to override a presidential veto.

"More than a thousand people were working and are still working" at the United States embassy and consulates, Putin said in an interview with Rossia-24 television.

"Russia is the driving force in the sanctions bill", he added.

"It is a great pity that Russian-American relations are being sacrificed to this domestic, internal American issue", Putin said at a news conference in Savonlinna, Finland.

"He may sign the sanctions exactly the way they are or he may veto the sanctions and negotiate an even tougher deal against the Russians", Scaramucci said.

It accused the United States of using the law to "create unfair competitive advantages for the USA in the global economy" and said its actions breached worldwide law.

Meanwhile, some European countries expressed concerns that the measures targeting Russia's energy sector would harm its businesses involved in piping Russian natural gas.

"The near unanimous votes for the sanctions legislation in Congress represent the strong will of the American people to see Russian Federation take steps to improve relations with the United States".

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.

Moscow's retaliation, announced by the Foreign Ministry on Friday, had echoes of the Cold War. The two agreed to maintain contact "on the full scope of the Russian-American relations", it said. Russian Federation will also close down the embassy's recreational retreat on the outskirts of Moscow as well as warehouse facilities. It said it is ordering the U.S. Embassy to reduce the number of embassy and consular employees in the country to 455 in response to the U.S. Congress' approval of a new package of sanctions.

The legislation is said to be a larger response to Russia's alleged meddling in the 2016 USA presidential election.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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