Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Sunday 755 US diplomats must leave the country in retaliation for Congress’ approving new sanctions for Moscow’s interference in the 2016 presidential election.
Putin was making good on a threat he issued on Friday that he would cut US diplomatic staff in Russia and seize two American properties after the Senate and the House voted overwhelmingly for new sanctions against Moscow.
An official at the US Embassy in Moscow said there are about 1,100 diplomatic and support staff in Russia, including US citizens and Russians, Reuters reported last week, citing a source.
Earlier Sunday, Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said vote for the sanctions was the “last drop” and said Moscow would retaliate “in kind.”
“We have a very rich toolbox at our disposal. It would be ridiculous on my part to start speculating on what may or may not happen,” Rybakov said on ABC’s “This Week.” “I can assure you that different options are on the table and consideration is being given to all sorts of things.”
The Senate approved the bill by a 98-2 vote last week. The House previously approved the measure by a 419-3 margin.
It awaits President Trump’s signature, and the White House said he “intends” to sign it.