Russia retaliated for U.S. expulsion of Russian diplomats and new round of sanctions passed by U.S. Congress by ordering U.S. to cut its diplomatic staff in Russia to 485 people.
This may only be beginning of a series of responses by the Kremlin. In 2016, the Obama administration closed two Russian diplomatic compounds and seized Russian property. 35 Russian diplomats had been expelled, as a response to alleged Russian interference in U.S. election.
Until Friday, Moscow has refrained from taking retaliatory measures, but the Kremlin’s patience with Washington may finally be at an end.
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov said on Friday Russia is not ruling out any steps “to bring the US to its senses’.
“We are not ruling out any steps, so to say, to bring to their senses those presumptuous Russophobes who are setting the tone on Capitol Hill today,” Ryabkov told reporters.
We cannot put up with Russophobic mayhem on Capitol Hill, which was expressed in the adoption of an unprecedentedly far-reaching document in both chambers.
We believe that our American colleagues had enough time to weigh up the potentially destructive consequences of such actions.
Russia will never submit to this kind of techniques. We stand for international law, for the fair, consistent finding of necessary solutions to world problems, which can be found only together.
He said in a statement to RT.
Ryabkov said that Russia’s measures against the U.S. will not be limited to the reduction of U.S. diplomatic staff and seizure of diplomatic property, although he did not specify what further measures Russia might take.
After Russian announced the decision to reduce the number of US diplomats in Russia to 455, it yet remains unclear how many people will have to leave.
Other high ranking Russian officials have spoken of the possibility of ‘asymmetrical response’ to new U.S. sanctions.
Russian Senator Konstantin Kosachev said that: “We must prepare such reaction, because it definitely must follow, not a symmetrical one, but painful for Americans.”
His colleague Aleksey Pushkov stated that Moscow hoped relations with new U.S. administration would improve.
The U.S. Senate is likely to pass the new legislation imposing new sanctions on Russia, leaving little room for President Donald Trump to pursue better relations with Moscow. There was clearly a bipartisan consensus in the U.S. Congress to pass the sanctions bill, indicating both the Democrat and Republican establishment’s determination in maintaining a hostile course towards Russia.
Photo: © Sputnik/ Maksim Blinov