Putin Expels 755 U.S. Diplomats From Moscow, Vows Further Retaliation If U.S. Advances Sanctions

A diplomatic crisis between the U.S. and Russia is now threatened after President Vladimir Putin ordered 755 U.S. diplomats to leave Russia. A total of 755 American diplomats will have to leave Russia as a result of Washington’s own policies, according to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Sergei Ryabkov, Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister, said on ABC’s This Week that his country’s retaliation over U.S. actions against Russia was “overdue.”

“I think this retaliation is long, long overdue.”

On Sunday, Putin sat with Russian television host, Vladimir Solovyov, in an exclusive interview with Rossiya 1 TV.

“The American side has made a move which, it is important to note, hasn’t been provoked by anything, to worsen Russian-US relations. [It includes] unlawful restrictions, attempts to influence other states of the world, including our allies, who are interested in developing and keeping relations with Russia.”

The Russian leader said they remained hopeful that something would change for the better.

“We’ve been waiting for quite a long time that maybe something would change for the better, we had hopes that the situation would change. But it looks like, it’s not going to change in the near future… I decided that it is time for us to show that we will not leave anything unanswered.”

755 US diplomats set to leave Russia.

The Russian foreign ministry announced that Moscow told Washington to reduce the number of its diplomatic staff in Russia to 455 people. The events follow U.S. Congress’ approval of new sanctions against Russia, Iran, and North Korea.

By September of 2017, the number of United States diplomatic service staff in Russia was officially ordered to be reduced in order to equal the number of Russian diplomats in the United States.

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The American diplomatic mission carries over 1,200 personnel and “greatly exceeds” the number of Russia’s embassy staff in the United States.

“From the perspective of a working diplomatic mission, [the measure] is fairly sensitive.”

Once the bill becomes law, Trump will be unable to ease sanctions against Russia, according to the Washington Examiner, unless he gets congressional approval to do so.

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The legislation cleared through Congress with overwhelming bipartisan support, coming in with a 98-2 vote in the Senate and 419-3 in the House.

The legislation is said to be a larger response to Russia’s alleged meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

“We have a very rich toolbox at our disposal. It would be ridiculous on my part to start speculating on what may or may not happen.”

In December, thirty-five Russian diplomats were expelled from the United States under sanctions President Barack Obama imposed over Russia’s alleged meddling in the 2016 election, according to CNN. The sanctions also included the closure of two Russian compounds, in Maryland and New York, used for intelligence purposes.

[Featured Image by Alexei Nikolsky and Sputnik/AP Images]