Trump receives Russian Federation sanctions bill for his signature or veto

Jerome Frank
July 30, 2017

The Russian Foreign Ministry announced in a statement on Friday that in response it is ordering the U.S. Embassy in Russia to reduce the number of its diplomats by September 1.

U.S. President Donald Trump will sign legislation that imposes sanctions on Russian Federation, the White House said on Friday, after Moscow ordered the United States to cut hundreds of diplomatic staff and said it would seize two U.S. diplomatic properties in retaliation for the bill.

"We have received the Russian government notification". "Ambassador Tefft expressed his strong disappointment and protest". Russian news agency Interfax reported that the USA would have to cut "hundreds" of its staff. Its response suggests it has set aside initial hopes of better ties with Washington under Trump, something the USA leader, before he was elected, had said he wanted to achieve.

The Russian Foreign Ministry complained of growing anti-Russian feeling in the United States, accusing "well-known circles" of seeking "open confrontation".

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday approved the Foreign Ministry's measure to downsize the number of personnel in USA diplomatic and consular missions to 455.

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

Trump now faces an even tougher decision.

The outgoing Obama administration seized two Russian diplomatic compounds - one in NY and another in Maryland - at the same time as it expelled the Russian diplomats in December.

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Some former officials said Russia could take other steps, such as seeking to help Russian-backed forces seize more ground in eastern Ukraine or to try to limit U.S. air operations in Syria, while others said any reaction might be more muted.

But allegations from the U.S. intelligence community that Putin interfered in the USA elections to get Trump elected have made any concessions to Trump politically toxic.

Moscow complained that the "new sanctions bill showed with all clarity that relations with Russian Federation have fallen hostage to the domestic political struggle in the U.S.".

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

The new sanctions come as the White House grapples with several ongoing probes into ties between the Trump campaign and Russian Federation, which the President has blasted as unnecessary. Lawmakers said they also made adjustments so the sanctions on Russia's energy sector didn't undercut the ability of USA allies in Europe to get access to oil and gas resources outside of Russian Federation.

It also said it would seize a Moscow compound used by USA diplomats as well as a United States diplomatic warehouse.

A European Commission spokesman in Brussels gave a non-committal response to the Senate vote, saying: "We will be watching how this process unfolds and then of course we will be watching equally attentively how this law, if and when it enters into force, will be applied in practice".

Other reports by Guamnewswatch

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