Friday, July 28, 2017

Russia cuts US diplomatic presence in retaliation for sanctions

Russia’s foreign ministry has ordered a reduction in the US diplomatic presence in the country and seized a US embassy dacha in retaliation for a wave of sanctions approved by Congress this week. The US ambassador to Russia, John Tefft, was summoned to the foreign ministry on Friday morning to be given the news. A statement posted on the ministry’s website said the number of diplomatic and technical personnel across US diplomatic missions in Russia should not exceed 455. The ministry said the figure was equivalent to the number of Russian diplomatic staff accredited for work in the US. It was not immediately clear how many US diplomats and other workers would be forced to leave the country, or whether the figure of 455 included Russian staff of US diplomatic missions. It is believed there are over 1,000 staff at the US embassy in Moscow and three consulates across the country, and an unnamed source told the Russian agency Interfax that “hundreds” of employees would have to either return to the US or leave their posts.

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