Russian President Vladimir Putin is not very happy with the United States after senators voted to punish him for “meddling in the 2016 election” with new sanctions on top of Obama-era sanctions, which were imposed on the country in December when the U.S. expelled 35 Russian diplomats and seized two estates.
Moscow did not respond at the time, with President Putin holding off on retaliation to see if he could establish a better relationship with the future president. But, it looks like that’s all over now, and Trump will not likely use his veto power in this instance.
In response, the Russian Foreign Ministry announced on Friday that some United States diplomats now have until Sept. 1 to leave Russia and that U.S. diplomatic property will be seized.
In a tit-for-tat move, the Foreign Ministry said that the United States must reduce its diplomatic staff in Russia to 455 people, which is the same number of Russian diplomats it said were left in the United States after former-President Barack Hussein Obama expelled 35 Russians in December.
A statement from the Foreign Ministry said that the decision by Congress to impose new sanctions confirmed “the extreme aggression of the United States in international affairs.” It added, “Hiding behind its ‘exceptionalism,’ the United States arrogantly ignores the positions and interests of other countries. Under the absolutely invented pretext of Russian interference in their domestic affairs, the United States is aggressively pushing forward, one after another, crude anti-Russian actions. This all runs counter to the principles of international law.”
According to a CNBC report, a rogue official at the U.S. embassy in Moscow, who went against orders to speak to the media, said there are roughly 1,100 U.S. diplomatic staff in Russia, including Russian citizens and U.S. citizens.
The Russian Foreign Ministry is also seizing a compound in Moscow where U.S. diplomats go to relax and a U.S. diplomatic warehouse in Moscow.
The outgoing Obama administration had done the same when two Russian diplomatic compounds – one in New York and another in Maryland – were closed at the same time as the Russian diplomats were expelled in December.
ABOUT VLADIMIR PUTIN
Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin (born 7 October 1952) is the current President of Russia, holding the office since 7 May 2012. He was Prime Minister from 1999 to 2000, President from 2000 to 2008, and again Prime Minister from 2008 to 2012. During his second term as Prime Minister, he was the Chairman of the ruling United Russia Party.
Born in Leningrad, then part of the Soviet Union, Putin studied Law at the Saint Petersburg State University, graduating in 1975. Putin was a KGB Foreign Intelligence Officer for 16 years, rising to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel before retiring in 1991 to enter politics in Saint Petersburg. He moved to Moscow in 1996 and joined President Boris Yeltsin’s administration, rising quickly through the ranks and becoming Acting President on 31 December 1999, when Yeltsin resigned. Putin won the subsequent 2000 Presidential election by a 53% to 30% margin, thus avoiding a runoff with his Communist Party of the Russian Federation opponent, Gennady Zyuganov. He was re-elected President in 2004 with 72% of the vote.
During Putin’s first presidency, the Russian economy grew for eight straight years, and GDP measured in purchasing power increased by 72%.The growth was a result of the 2000s commodities boom, high oil prices, and prudent economic and fiscal policies.Because of constitutionally mandated term limits, Putin was ineligible to run for a third consecutive presidential term in 2008. The 2008 Presidential election was won by Dmitry Medvedev, who appointed Putin Prime Minister, beginning what has been called a period of “tandemocracy”. In September 2011, after presidential terms were extended from four to six years, Putin announced he would seek a third term as president. He won the March 2012 presidential election with 64% of the vote, a result which aligned with pre-election polling. Falling oil prices coupled with international sanctions imposed at the beginning of 2014 after Russia’s annexation of Crimea and military intervention in Eastern Ukraine led to GDP shrinking by 3.7% in 2015, though the Russian economy rebounded in 2016 with 0.3% GDP growth and is officially out of the recession.
Under Putin’s leadership, Russia has scored poorly in Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index, and experienced democratic backsliding according to both the Economist Intelligence Unit’s Democracy Index and Freedom House’s Freedom in the World index. Putin has enjoyed high domestic approval ratings during his career, and received extensive international attention as one of the world’s most powerful leaders. U.S. intelligence agencies have accused him of launching an influence campaign against Hillary Clinton in the 2016 United States presidential election.
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