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International

US calls Vladimir Putin’s expulsion of diplomats from Russia ‘regrettable and uncalled for’

15:20, Monday, 31 July, 2017
US calls Vladimir Putin’s expulsion of diplomats from Russia ‘regrettable and uncalled for’

The US State Department has called Russia" Russia's decision to kick out hundreds of American diplomats "a regrettable and uncalled for act".

President Vladimir Putin has said the US will have to cut its diplomatic staff in Russia by 755 under new sanctions from Moscow.

On Friday, Russian's foreign ministry ordered a reduction in the number of US diplomats in response to new sanctions approved by Congress and sent to Donald Trump to be signed into law.Two days later, Mr Putin said the US would have to cut its embassy and consulate staff in Russia by 755.

The Russian President said more than 1,000 people were currently employed at the Moscow embassy and three US consulates in Russia, including both Americans and Russians hired to work in the diplomatic offices.

In an interview shown on state television, Mr Putin said he ordered the move because he thought it was time to show "we're not going to leave that without an answer".The US legislation, which also targets Iran and North Korea, seeks to punish Moscow for meddling in the 2016 US election and for its military aggression in Ukraine and Syria.

"We had hoped that the situation will somehow change, but apparently if it changes, it won't be soon," Mr Putin said.

"I thought it was the time to show that we're not going to leave it without an answer."

Russia is open to co-operating with the US on issues, including terrorism and cybercrime, but instead it "only hears unfounded accusations of meddling in US domestic affairs", Mr Putin

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