Russia Hits Back After New Sanctions, Expels 755 US Diplomats

| July 31 , 2017 , 08:34 IST

Russian President Vladimir V Putin has announced that 755 US diplomats are to be expelled from the nation by September 1 in a mark of retaliation after a bill regarding new sanctions against Russia, Iran and North Korea was passed in the US Senate.

President Putin, speaking in a TV interview said, "Russia's patience in waiting for improved relations with the United States had worn out."

"We waited for quite some time that maybe something will change for the better, had such hope that the situation will somehow change, but, judging by everything, if it changes, it will not be soon," he added.

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An official statement released by the Russian Foreign Ministry said that the total number of American diplomats in US Embassies in Moscow and its four other consulates should be reduced to 455 by September 1, which is the same number of Russian diplomats that are currently in the US.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov has threatened further retaliation against the U.S.

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"If the U.S. side decides to move further towards further deterioration, we will answer, we will respond in kind," CNN reported Ryabkov, as saying.

"We will mirror this. We will retaliate. ... But my whole point is, don't do this, it is to the detriment of the interests of the U.S."

The deputy foreign minister did not specify what Russia's plans for retaliation are, but said that the country has "a very rich toolbox at our disposal."