Monday, 31 July 2017

Putin orders 755 US diplomatic staff from Russia

Vladimir Putin has ordered 755 staff to leave US diplomatic missions in Russia in retaliation for Washington agreeing to impose more sanctions on Moscow.
Russia's Foreign Ministry announced it intended to expel staff on Friday but Mr Putin has now put an exact number on those who must leave by 1 September. He did not explain how the figure was calculated.

Mr Putin said more than 1,000 people are currently employed at the Moscow embassy and three US consulates in Russia. They include both Americans and Russians.

The White House confirmed on Friday that President Trump would sign the sanctions bill, which has been approved by the House of Representatives and the Senate.

The sanctions, which also target Iran and North Korea, seek to punish Moscow for meddling in the 2016 US 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," Mr Putin told state-owned TV channel Rossiya 1.

Explaining why Moscow decided to retaliate, he said: "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 US on various issues, including terrorism and cybercrime, but instead it "only hears unfounded accusations of meddling in US domestic affairs," Mr Putin added.

In a statement, the US 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."

SKY     News.