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Putin slams 'anti-Russia hysteria' after US imposes sanctions

Russia ordered Washington to reduce its diplomatic staff.

FINLAND-SAVONLINNA-RUSSIA-PUTIN-VISIT Russian President Vladimir Putin. Source: Xinhua News Agency/PA Images

RUSSIA’S FOREIGN MINISTRY has announced countermeasures in response to tough new sanctions proposed by the United States, ordering Washington to reduce its diplomatic staff.

President Vladimir Putin slammed what he called “anti-Russian hysteria” in Washington and said that Russia could not “endlessly tolerate this kind of insolence”.

Moscow ordered the US to reduce its diplomatic presence in Russia to 455 diplomats and staff and also barred it from using a Moscow summer house and storage facility.

The ministry said that this was in response to the passing of a new bill on sanctions by the Senate yesterday. US President Donald Trump will now have to decide whether to accept or veto the measures.

Moscow complained that the “new sanctions bill showed with all clarity that relations with Russia have fallen hostage to the domestic political struggle in the US.”

It warned that it “reserves the right to carry out other measures that could affect the interests of the US” while acting in a reciprocal fashion.

Anger

Trump Source: Evan Vucci

The move comes after Russia has repeatedly expressed anger at Washington barring its diplomats access to two compounds in the US in December last year, under Barack Obama, in response to suspected Russian meddling in the US election.

Obama at the same time expelled 35 Russian diplomats for spying.

President Vladimir Putin initially held off from retaliating, saying he would wait to see how Trump reacted after he came into the White House.

Trump and Putin discussed this diplomatic spat at their first meeting at the G20 in Hamburg this month.

Russia’s deputy foreign minister Sergei Ryabkov had said after subsequent talks in Washington that the matter was “almost” resolved.

Today, the Russian foreign ministry slammed what it called “extreme aggressiveness of the US in international affairs” and said Washington was using the “absolutely far-fetched pretext of Russia’s interference in its internal affairs” to carry out “flagrantly anti-Russian actions”.

The ministry said: “We propose to the US side to bring the number of diplomatic and technical staff” working in Russia “in exact accordance” with the number of Russian diplomats and support staff in the United States by 1 September.

- © AFP, 2017

Read: Trump refuses to say whether or not he’ll fire Attorney General Jeff Sessions>

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