Following the US Congress issuing sanctions against Russia over alleged interference in the 2016 presidential election, Russian President Vladimir Putin declared that 755 US diplomats must leave the country.
Putin was making good on his threats he made Thursday.
Vladimir Putin said that Russia would be forced to retaliate if Washington pressed ahead with what he called illegal new sanctions against Moscow, describing U.S. conduct towards his country as boorish and unreasonable.
“As you know, we are exercising restraint and patience, but at some moment we’ll have to retaliate. It’s impossible to endlessly tolerate this boorishness towards our country,” Putin told a joint news conference in Finland.
“When will our response follow? What will it be? That will depend on the final version of the draft law which is now being debated in the U.S. Senate.”
On Thursday, Zero Hedge reported on Moscow’s reaction to the Senate overwhelmingly voting to enforce further sanctions against Russia, North Korea, and Iran and keeping President Trump from undoing any of those measures without Congressional approval.
The move is “linked to the passing of the new law on sanctions,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov tells reporters on conference call, explaining that Russia acted before law signed by President Donald Trump because the form of legislation unlikely to change.
“The Russian side is suspending the use of all storage facilities on Dorozhnaya Street in Moscow, and a cottage in Serebryaniy Bor by the US Embassy in Russia as of August 1,” the ministry said in a statement.
Moscow also said that the number of US diplomatic service staff in Russia should be reduced to equal the number of Russian diplomats in the US by September 1. “This means that the total number of personnel involved in the American diplomatic and consular institutions in the Russian Federation is reduced to 455.”
Shortly after the statement, Interfax reported, citing an unidentified person that “hundreds, not dozens, of U.S. diplomatic and technical staff will have to leave Russia as part of retaliation.”
Russian President Vladimir Putin has approved the move, according to his spokesman, Dmitry Peskov.
The foreign ministry also said that Russia is also prepared to resort to additional retaliatory measures in case of new moves by Washington to reduce its diplomatic corps.
“In the case of new unilateral actions of the US authorities to reduce the number of our diplomats in the US, it will be followed by a tit-for-tat response,” the Foreign Ministry stated. “We reserve the right on other mutual measures, which can affect US interests.”
On Sunday, the Russian President declared that 755 US diplomats must leave the country because of Congress’ sanctions.
According to a representative at the UD Embassy in Moscow, there are about 1,100 diplomatic and support staff in Russia, including US citizens and Russians.
Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said that the vote in Congress was the “last drop.”
“We have a very rich toolbox at our disposal. It would be ridiculous on my part to start speculating on what may or may not happen,” Rybakov said on ABC’s “This Week.” “I can assure you that different options are on the table and consideration is being given to all sorts of things.”
According to the White House, President Trump intends on signing the sanctions bill.