Putin: US will have to shed 755 from diplo­matic staff

Woonsocket Call - - From Page One/blackstone Valley/nation -

MOS­COW (AP) — Rus­sian Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin said Sun­day the United States would have to cut its em­bassy and con­sulate staff in Rus­sia by 755, height­en­ing ten­sions be­tween Wash­ing­ton and Mos­cow three days af­ter the U.S. Congress ap­proved sanc­tions against Rus­sia.

In re­sponse, the U.S. State Depart­ment deemed it "a re­gret­table and un­called for act."

Rus­sian's For­eign Min­istry on Fri­day or­dered a re­duc­tion by Sept. 1 in the num­ber of U.S. diplo­matic per­son­nel in Rus­sia. It said it is or­der­ing the U.S. Em­bassy to limit the num­ber of em­bassy and con­sular em­ploy­ees in the coun­try to 455 in re­sponse to ap­proval of the new pack­age of Amer­i­can sanc­tions. The White House has said U.S. Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump would sign those sanc­tions into law.

The leg­is­la­tion, which also tar­gets Iran and North Korea, seeks to pun­ish Mos­cow for med­dling in the 2016 U.S. elec­tion and for its mil­i­tary ag­gres­sion in Ukraine and Syria.

"We had hoped that the sit­u­a­tion will some­how change, but ap­par­ently if it changes, it won't be soon," Putin said in an in­ter­view tele­vised on Ros­siya 1, ex­plain­ing why Mos­cow de­cided to re­tal­i­ate. "I thought it was the time to show that we're not go­ing to leave it with­out an an­swer."

Rus­sia is open to co­op­er­at­ing with the U.S. on var­i­ous is­sues, in­clud­ing ter­ror­ism and cy­ber­crime, but in­stead it "only hears un­founded ac­cu­sa­tions of med­dling in U.S. do­mes­tic af­fairs," he said.

Putin said more than 1,000 peo­ple are cur­rently em­ployed at the Mos­cow em­bassy and three U.S. con­sulates in Rus­sia. They in­clude both Amer­i­cans and Rus­sians hired to work in the diplo­matic of­fices.

The Rus­sian leader did not ex­plain how the fig­ure of 755 po­si­tions was cal­cu­lated.

In a state­ment, the State Depart­ment said: "This is a re­gret­table and un­called for act. We are as­sess­ing the im­pact of such a lim­i­ta­tion and how we will re­spond to it. We have no fur­ther com­ment at this time."

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.