Published: Thu, September 07, 2017
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

Russian Federation may force U.S. to cut diplomatic staff more, Putin says

Russian Federation may force U.S. to cut diplomatic staff more, Putin says

Russian President Vladimir Putin waded into Russia's diplomatic row with the United States on Tuesday, saying Moscow could further cut USA diplomatic staff in Russia and calling US searches of a Russian consulate and other diplomatic properties "boorish".

Failing that, Mr. Putin said he could reduce United States diplomatic staff in Russian Federation by 155 more positions, in addition to the 755 already eliminated.

Last week the Trump administration announced it was shuttering the Russian Consulate in San Francisco as well as annexes in Washington and NY in response to mandated staff cuts at the USA mission in Russia. But Putin said the latest expulsions ordered by Washington brought the number of Russian diplomats on US soil to below parity.

The statement comes after Moscow imposed a September 1 deadline for the USA diplomatic mission to cut its staff to 455.

Commenting on the move in the Chinese city of Xiamen after the annual summit of the five-nation BRICS club of emerging economies, Putin said that US actions over Russian consulates was "boorish", adding that he will give an order to take Washington to court over violation of Russian property rights on USA soil. "Let us see how the situation develops", he said.

The United States said the closures of Russian diplomatic property would achieve "parity" in the country's respective diplomatic missions, a word borrowed from the Russian side when it cut the US diplomatic mission by 755 employees in July.

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While discussing U.S. -Russia relations, Putin also noted he is not close to Trump, despite common speculation from Trump opponents to the contrary.

Russia's Foreign Ministry says US security forces plan to search the building after it is vacated.

Russian Federation denies meddling the US election, despite powerful evidence, and Trump denies that there was any collusion between his campaign or transition team and Russian Federation. "After all, he is not my bride, and I am not his groom - we are statesmen".

The Obama administration said it was retaliating for Russian meddling in the USA presidential election. "In his activities, Trump is guided by the national interests of his country, and I by the interests of mine".

"The Americans were in their right to reduce the number of our diplomatic facilities".

"But among those 455 diplomatic staff working in the United States there are 155 people working at the United Nations".

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