Hundreds of U.S. diplomats have been told to leave Russia immediately following an unprecedented announcement from the Kremlin. On Sunday, Russian President Vladimir Putin followed through on a threat he issued Friday, telling 755 U.S. diplomats to leave the country.
In response to Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election, the Senate and House approved new sanctions against the country, and President Trump is expected to approve them. Russia responded, saying the bill could damage the relationship between the two countries should it pass.
Putin said Friday that he would cut the U.S. diplomatic staff there, which according to Reuters, number about 1,100 diplomatic and support staff. Some are US citizens, and others are Russian. Many are housed in compounds throughout the former Soviet country, which are also being shut down.
Prior to the announcement of the order by Putin, Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said there were a number of options being considered by Russian authorities, who would be retaliating to the sanctions. “I can assure you that different options are on the table and consideration is being given to all sorts of things,” Ryabkov said.
According to Interfax, Putin commented about U.S.-Russian relations during an interview. “We waited for quite some time that maybe something will change for the better,” Putin reportedly said. “[We] had such hope that the situation will somehow change, but, judging by everything, if it changes, it will not be soon.”
BREAKING: Russian President Putin says U.S. embassy in Moscow will have to cut staff by 755 because of new US sanctions against Russia.
— The Associated Press (@AP) July 30, 2017
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