Russia Orders US to Reduce Diplomatic Staff

WRAPUP 9-US Senate slaps new sanctions on Russia, putting Trump in corner

28 de julio de 2017, 08:12Moscow, July 28 (Prensa Latina) Russia has announced today the blockade on the use of U.S. embassy properties in this nation, effective August 1, and the demand to reduce its personnel by September 1.

Meanwhile, President Trump condemned North Korea's action as "reckless and risky", and said the US will take all "necessary steps" to protect itself and its allies.

Moscow has already responded, ordering a reduction in the number of U.S. diplomats in Russian Federation and closing the U.S. Embassy's recreation retreat.

Republicans and Democrats have pushed for more sanctions partly as a response to conclusions by USA intelligence agencies that the Kremlin interfered in the election.

The U.S. Embassy in Moscow, with a monument to Russian revolutionary workers in the foreground Friday, July 28, 2017. But vote tallies in the House and Senate - 419-3 and 98-2, respectively - meant that a Trump veto would have likely been overridden.

During weeks of negotiations, the Trump administration pushed back at what it saw as attempt to limit the executive branch's ability to unilaterally ease sanctions, making the case that it limits USA leverage in attempts to impact Russian behavior and build a better relationship with Putin.

"In the event of new unilateral steps by the USA authorities to reduce the number of our diplomats in the US, a tit-for-tat response will follow", the ministry said.

At the top of Russia's wish list is an easing of United States sanctions imposed for its annexation of Crimea from Ukraine and its destabilization of eastern Ukraine, something the Senate action would all but rule out.

With it, Republicans and Democrats signaled bluntly that they do not trust President Donald Trump to act in America's best interest when it comes to Russian Federation.

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Besides angering Moscow, the legislation has upset the European Union, which has said the new sanctions might affect its energy security and prompt it to act, too.

Trump now faces an even tougher decision.

"I think if there were a settlement and if this were generally acceptable to all the parties, including Ukraine, I think that Congress would not stand in the way of the administration lifting the Ukraine-related sanctions", he said.

The sanctions package imposes mandatory penalties on people involved in Iran's ballistic missile program and anyone who does business with them.

Clearly the Obamacare debacle is an embarrassment for the President and for Republicans, but the new legislation on Russian Federation sanctions - which Trump has not yet signed - should worry him far more.

But faced with heavy bipartisan support for the bill in the House and Senate, the president had little choice but to sign the bill into law.

An official in the White House wouldn't say whether Trump would sign it, saying only that they are reviewing the bill and that the administration supports sanctions against the three countries.

Still, signing a bill that penalizes Russia's election interference marks a significant shift for Trump.

Chuck Schumer, a Democratic senator, said a veto would also harm Trump's image amid ongoing investigations into his alleged collusion with Russian Federation to sway last year's USA election.

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