As a response for the new round of sanctions adopted in the U.S. House of Representatives, Russia has told the U.S. to reduce number of its diplomatic staff to 455 people. Moscow is also preventing U.S. diplomats from using embassy storage facilities in the capital.
We request that our American counterparts bring the number of diplomatic and technical staff at the US Embassy in Moscow, the consulates general in St Petersburg, Yekaterinburg and Vladivostok, into strict correspondence with the number of Russian diplomats and technical staff currently working in the United States, until September 1, 2017. This means that the total number of American diplomatic and consular office employees in the Russian Federation must be reduced to 455 people. In the event of further unilateral action on behalf of US officials to reduce the Russian diplomatic mission in the US, we will respond accordingly.
Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement, and added that U.S. sanctions were proof of ‘extremely hostile foreign policy’.
According to his spokesman Dmitry Peskov, Russian President Vladimir Putin has approved the measures.
The Obama administration, in response to the alleged Russian interference in U.S. Presidential election, confiscated Russian diplomatic property, closed two diplomatic compounds and expelled 35 Russian diplomats.
Russia initially abstained from responding, with the Kremlin hoping to reach an agreement with the new administration. However, Moscow’s hopes of finding a solution with the Trump administration have been frustrated.
The latest round of anti-Russian sanctions adopted in the U.S. House of Representatives prompted Moscow to retaliate. There is still a possibility, however, that Russia may introduce new measures, as a part of its response to U.S. sanctions.
Photo: © Kirill Kudryavtsev