Russia orders cut in U.S. diplomats in reaction to sanctions – New York News

MOSCOW – Russia’s Foreign Ministry on Friday ordered a reduction in the number of U.S. diplomats in Russia and said it was closing down a U.S. recreation retreat in response to fresh sanctions against Russia.

The U.S. Senate approved a new package of stiff financial sanctions Friday against Russia, Iran and North Korea and sent it to President Donald Trump to sign. The legislation bars Trump from easing or waiving the penalties on Russia unless Congress agrees. The legislation is aimed at punishing Moscow for interfering in the 2016 presidential election and for its military aggression in Ukraine and Syria, where the Kremlin has backed President Bashar Assad.

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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 Sept. 1. Russia will also close down the embassy’s recreational retreat on the outskirts of Moscow as well as warehouse facilities.

The ministry said the number was being cut to 455 diplomats. It was not immediately clear how many U.S. diplomats now serve in Russia.

The U.S. Embassy in Moscow was not immediately available for comment.

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