Moscow, reacting to sanctions, orders 'insolent' United States to cut diplomatic staff

Claudine Rigal
Juillet 30, 2017

"To waive sanctions on Russia, Trump would have to send Congress a report explaining and justifying his decision, and lawmakers would then get 30 days to decide whether to allow it".

The United States continues to pass more unlawful sanctions against Russia, to seize Russias diplomatic property, which is formalised in binding bilateral documents, and to deport Russian diplomats.

Andrei Klimov, a senior member of the Russian parliament's foreign relations committee, said he believes the whole dispute is based on American domestic politics.

Earlier in the day, the White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said the Trump Administration supports strong sanctions against Russia, Iran and North Korea.

"I'm not sure if Mr. Trump, he has somebody other than his family and friends of his family, and maybe his own bodyguards and that's it", Klimov said.

The bill threatens to further derail U.S.

Speaking just before the Senate passed the bill, Republican Senator John McCain, a leading congressional voice calling for a firm line against Russian Federation said: "The United States of America needs to send a strong message to Vladimir Putin and any other aggressor that we will not tolerate attacks on our democracy".

The proposed measures target Russia's energy sector as part of legislation that prevents Trump from easing sanctions on Moscow without congressional approval.

In a statement on Friday, Russia's foreign ministry said: "The US is stubbornly taking one crudely anti-Russian step after another, using the utterly fictitious pretext of Russian interference in its internal affairs".

Russia's action, outlined in a statement from the Foreign Ministry, came a day after the Senate voted for new sanctions against Russian Federation, putting President Donald Trump in a tough position by forcing him to take a hard line on Moscow or veto the legislation and anger the Republican Party, Reuters reported.

But late Wednesday he announced that he sees "a path forward on legislation to sanction Iran, Russia and North Korea" following "very productive discussions". He will be under pressure to sign it after weeks of intense negotiations.

This bill came despite that Trump administration officials had called on lawmakers to grant "flexibility" to the White House in dealing with Russian Federation.

Trump can impose new sanctions at any time through an executive order.

The officials added that the president has been reluctant to proceed with the bill, even after it was revised last week to include some changes that American and European companies sought to ensure that business deals were not stifled by new sanctions.

".The election of the U.S. president, it is not our business, and it is not up to us to assess what he does in this very senior post, that's up to the U.S. public", Putin said. "That doesn't make any sense", said Edward Fishman, a former State Department official during the Obama administration who worked on US sanctions policy.

If he opts for a veto, the bill can become law anyway if two-thirds of both the House and Senate vote for an override. "It's impossible to endlessly tolerate this boorishness towards our country".

Russia gave the United States until September 1 to cut its diplomatic staff in Russia to 455 people, the number of Russian diplomats left in the United States after Washington expelled 35 Russians in December because of the alleged election hacking.

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