PUTIN ORDERS U.S. TO CUT DIPLOMATIC STAFF
Russia kicks out 755 embassy workers in response to looming sanctions
MOSCOW and technical workers — worked and continue to work today in Russia; 755 will have to stop this activity,” he said.
The measure was the harshest such move since a similar rupture in 1986, in the waning days of the Soviet Union.
It was also a major shift in tone from last month, when Putin first met with President Donald Trump at the G-20 summit meeting in Hamburg, Germany.
Trump had talked during his campaign of improving ties with Russia, praising Putin, and the Kremlin had anticipated that the face-to-face meeting of two presidents would be the start of a new era.
But then, in quick succession, came the expanded sanctions passed by Congress, Trump’s indication that he would sign them into law and Moscow’s forceful retaliation.
Washington’s response on Sunday was muted. “This is a regrettable and uncalled-for act,” the State Department said.
“We are assessing the impact of such a limitation and how we will respond to it.”
Congress passed the new sanctions to punish Russia for interfering in the 2016 election.
It is also investigating the possibility of collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government, with Trump’s eldest son, Donald J. Trump Jr.
Putin has denied any Russian interference in the US election, saying that anti-Russian sentiment in the US was being used to drive an internal political battle. NYT
Russian President Vladimir Putin and United States President Donald Trump meeting on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany, last month.