Home / World / Putin announces removal of 775 US diplomats, stepping up confrontation over sanctions – Los Angeles Times

Putin announces removal of 775 US diplomats, stepping up confrontation over sanctions – Los Angeles Times

Touching off the Kremlin’s most serious diplomatic confrontation with Washington since President Trump took office six months ago, President Vladimir Putin announced Sunday that 775 American embassy and consulate staffers would be tossed out – the biggest such expulsion in years by an order of magnitude – in response to a package of sanctions awaiting Trump’s signature.

“I decided it’s time for us to show we do not intend to leave U.S. actions unanswered,” the Russian leader said in remarks aired in a prime-time evening interview on “Vesti,” a program on the Rossiya 1 state-run channel.

The expulsions would bring the number of U.S. diplomatic staff in Russia to 455, the same number that Russia has in the United States. In addition to the embassy in Moscow, the U.S. maintains consulates in St. Petersburg, Vladivostock and Yekaterinburg.

Before Putin’s announcement, the White House had indicated that Trump will sign the sanctions bill, even though the president has for months expressed uncertainty over Russia’s involvement in what U.S. intelligence agencies have described as a concerted campaign of Kremlin interference meant to throw the election to Trump.

Source: world

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