PUTIN OR­DERS U.S. TO CUT DIPLO­MATIC STAFF

Rus­sia kicks out 755 em­bassy work­ers in re­sponse to loom­ing sanc­tions

New Straits Times - - World -

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

EPA PIC

Rus­sian Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin and United States Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump meet­ing on the side­lines of the G20 sum­mit in Ham­burg, Ger­many, last month.

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