Tensions Running High: How Anti-Russia Sanctions Bill Can Affect EU


Tensions Running High: How Anti-Russia Sanctions Bill Can Affect EU

The Russian Foreign Ministry demanded Friday that the United States cut its diplomatic staff in Russia and said it would seize two US diplomatic properties in a sharp response to a new sanctions bill the US Congress passed a day earlier.

In a statement on Friday, Russia's foreign ministry said the USA must reduce its staff to 455 people by September 1.

Putin, who has repeatedly denied USA allegations that Russian Federation interfered with last year's US presidential election, said Moscow would only decide on how to retaliate against Washington once it had seen the final text of the proposed law.

In the statement, the ministry said, "Any new unilateral actions by the USA authorities to reduce the number of our diplomats in the United States will be met with a mirror response". He said he hoped "today's state of affairs will end at some point and we will move on to a new quality of relations, we will strengthen them and build them up in the interests of the peoples of the U.S. and Russian Federation".

Putin angrily responded to the passage of the sanctions by expelling dozens of USA diplomats and seizing embassy property elsewhere in Russian Federation.

He noted that the election of a USA president has nothing to do with Russian Federation and it is not Russia's business to evaluate what the US president does.

The move comes following the US Senate's approval of a new set of sanctions against Russia, Iran and North Korea, which is yet to be signed by President Donald Trump.

The text is also directed at Iran and North Korea, aims to punish Moscow for its putative interference in the american presidential election a year ago, in respect of which an investigation is underway in the United States.

Russian Federation is also barring Americans from using two diplomatic facilities.

Russia's Foreign Ministry dismissed the new sanctions as "creating unfair competitive advantages for the US economy".

Republicans on Capitol Hill had downplayed the notion that Trump would actually consider vetoing the sanctions bill.

And in that case, Stent said, Putin will come under pressure to act from his political right, hardline nationalists who see the U.S. as Moscow's greatest threat. It is, however, expected to garner enough support to override a Trump veto.

Immediately after the United States ordered the expulsion of 35 Russian diplomats in December, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov recommended a tit-for-tat expulsion of 35 USA diplomats and the shuttering of two American facilities in Russia.

It's not clear whether Trump would sign the bill.

On May 31, Trump said the United States would no longer participate in the landmark 2015 global climate change agreement and that his administration would begin negotiations either to re-enter the Paris accord or to have a new agreement "on terms that are fair to the United States".

Russian Federation denies it interfered in the election and Trump has said there was no collusion.

This story has been corrected to reflect that the Lavrov-Tillerson call was Friday, not Wednesday.

Putin said he regretted the deterioration in US-Russia ties because if the two nations acted together they would be "much more able to solve the acute problems which exist around the world and in Russia and the United States", such as combating terrorism, tackling environmental issues, fighting illegal migration and organized crime, and helping promote economic growth.

"Over the last eight months what price has Russian Federation paid for attacking our elections?"

"This kind of blackmail aimed at restricting the cooperation between Russian Federation and other nations is a threat for many countries and global businesses", the statement said.

A spokesman for the European Commission said Friday that European officials will be watching the US effort closely, vowing to "remain vigilant".

If the United States pushes back in ways that put Moscow on edge, for instance, by arming Ukrainian rebels with lethal weapons, a prospect the Trump administration is considering, "there will be a very strong reaction and it will be asymmetric, a reaction in areas where we're most vulnerable", Beebe said.