Russian Federation may expel hundreds of U.S. diplomatic staff

Posted July 30, 2017

Russia had originally threatened the ouster of diplomats and seizure of property in December after the USA ordered 35 Russian envoys out of the US and seized two embassy compounds outside NY and Washington in protest of alleged Russian meddling in the election.

The bill would affect a range of Russian industries and might further hurt the Russian economy, already weakened by 2014 sanctions imposed after the Ukraine crisis. But President Vladimir Putin at the time delayed the retaliatory steps in what officials said was an olive branch to the incoming Trump administration. But late Wednesday he announced that he sees "a path forward on legislation to sanction Iran, Russia and North Korea" following "very productive discussions".

Never in doubt was a cornerstone of the legislation that bars Trump from easing or waiving the additional penalties on Russian Federation unless Congress agrees.

Putin, speaking on a visit to Finland, was commenting on a vote by the U.S. House of Representatives which on Tuesday chose to impose new sanctions on Moscow and to force President Donald Trump to obtain lawmakers' permission before easing any sanctions on Russian Federation. If passed, the bill would be sent to the White House for Trump to sign or veto.

US Ambassador to Russia John Tefft has expressed his "strong disappointment and protest" over Moscow's decision to expel the US diplomats, according to a statement to CNN from the US Embassy in Moscow.

The sanctions package imposes mandatory penalties on people involved in Iran's ballistic missile program and anyone who does business with them. And he's blasted as a "witch hunt" investigations into the extent of Russia's interference and whether the Trump campaign colluded with Moscow. The measure would apply terrorism sanctions to the country's Revolutionary Guards and enforce an arms embargo.

Trump's positions on Russian Federation are generally hard to assess because he's often stepped away from his more controversial proposals. "It's impossible to endlessly tolerate this boorishness towards our country".

"It is a great pity that Russian-American relations are being sacrificed to this domestic, internal American issue", Putin said at a news conference in Savonlinna, Finland.

The Foreign Ministry said that the U.S. had until September 1 to bring the total number of diplomatic and technical personnel in Russian Federation to 455, the same number as it said Russian Federation has in the U.S. The ministry also ousted the U.S. from a recreation retreat and warehouse in Moscow.