Moscow ordered the United States to cut its diplomatic staff to 455 personnel by Sept. 1 in a retaliatory move after the US Congress voted for new sanctions. The measures will reduce the amount of US diplomatic service staff in Russia to the number of Russian diplomats in the US by September 1.
Adding to that, Moscow is suspending the use of all storage facilities in Moscow as well as a cottage in Serebryaniy Bor by August 1.
“The Russian side is suspending the use of all storage facilities on Dorozhnaya Street in Moscow, and a cottage in Serebryaniy Bor by the US Embassy in Russia as of August 1,” the ministry said in a statement.
The Foreign Ministry also stated that if Washington takes retaliatory measures, Russia will respond with a tit-for-tat response.
Although U.S. President Donald Trump still has to sign the new sanctions bill, Dmitry Peskov, Press Secretary of the President of Russia, believes the Senate approval of the bill is almost a final decision.
If President Trump vetoes the bill, he will greatly anger his own party, and will fuel the alleged Russian election meddling accusations.
On July 14, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said that Russia was ready to retaliate to the expulsion of 35 Russian diplomats and the seizure of two compounds in the United States.
“We have something to retaliate with: the personnel of the US embassy in Moscow greatly exceeds the number of our embassy staff in Washington,” Zakharova stated.
Moscow’s response to the new American sanctions was predictable, and although the United States could retaliate with new measures, it would only further jeopardize the possibility of seeing an improvement in the already-fragile diplomatic relations between both countries.