President Donald Trump hasn’t even signed the bill to pass new sanctions on Russia, but the Kremlin decided not to waste time. On Friday, Russian officials demanded that America reduce its number of diplomats to 455 by September 1 and shut down numerous American properties in the country.
No one knows exactly how many people work at the U.S. Embassy, but Russian parliamentary vice-speaker Sergei Zheleznyak claims the move will kick out 700 people.
“The passage of the new law on sanctions shows with all obviousness that relations with Russia have become hostage to the domestic political battle within the United States,” the Foreign Ministry said, adding that “the latest events show that in well-known circles in the United States, Russophobia and a course toward open confrontation with our country have taken hold.”
The Foreign Ministry also claims the sanctions create “unfair competitive advantage for the US economy” and consider the sanctions as “blackmail.”
Ministry officials ordered the closure of “a diplomatic retreat in a forested complex outside Moscow” and numerous “diplomatic storage sites.”
The U.S. Embassy in Moscow has received the orders:
The United States Embassy in Moscow issued a short statement confirming only that it had received the notification from the Russian Foreign Ministry and that it was sending the orders to Washington for review. The American ambassador, John F. Tefft, had expressed “his strong disappointment and protest,” the statement said.
Relations between America and Russia have soured since 2014 when Russia invaded Ukraine and annexed Crimea. It became worse when officials said Russia interfered with our presidential election.
Former President Barack Obama expelled 35 Russian diplomats and closed two Russian estates at the end of December 2016 due to Russia’s alleged interference.
The Wall Street Journal explained the sanctions bill, which also targets North Korea and Iran:
The compromise legislation would tighten restrictions on the extension of credit to Russian entities and mandate sanctions on those deemed to be undermining cybersecurity as well as those engaging in significant transactions involving the Russian defense and intelligence sectors.
It would allow some joint energy ventures to go ahead, but would sanction new projects and joint ventures in which a sanctioned Russian person or entity holds a stake of 33% or more.
The bill maintains a provision that says the president may impose penalties on firms backing a high-profile Russian pipeline project, but stops short of mandating penalties.
Russian officials said the Kremlin will not impose sanctions against America until Trump signs the bill. Even if he doesn’t there’s a good chance the Senate will override his veto since the bill passed 98-2.DONATE
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