Trump ready to sign Russian Federation sanctions bill, Moscow retaliates

Russia vows to retaliate over new US sanctions

Russia Retaliates For Sanctions Approval, Hitting At US Diplomatic Corps

Russia's ambitions to be on equal footing with the US suffered a setback in 2014 when the Obama administration authorized sanctions against sectors of the Russian economy, including financial services, energy, mining and defense.

Moscow's latest move comes a day after the US Senate passed sweeping legislation slapping new sanctions on Russian Federation - over its alleged interference in last year's election, annexation of Crimea and military operations in eastern Ukraine - and limiting President Donald Trump's ability to remove them.

Never in doubt was a cornerstone of the legislation that bars Trump from easing or waiving the additional penalties on Russian Federation unless Congress agrees.

The legislation is aimed at punishing Moscow for interfering in the 2016 presidential election and for its military aggression in Ukraine and Syria, where the Kremlin has backed President Bashar Assad.

The ministry said it is ordering the U.S. Embassy in Russian Federation to reduce the number of its diplomats by September 1.

The embassy spokesperson declined to comment on the current number of USA diplomats and staff in Russian Federation.

The ministry said the number was being cut to 455 diplomats.

Speaking Thursday in Finland, Putin said he "very much regrets" the worsening of relations between Russian Federation and the United States, blaming it on "anti-Russia hysteria" in U.S. domestic politics.

Russia had originally threatened the ouster of diplomats and seizure of property in December after the US ordered 35 Russian envoys out of the USA and seized two embassy compounds outside NY and Washington in protest of alleged Russian meddling in the election.

At the end of 2016, President Obama cited US findings that Russian Federation had meddled with the recent presidential election when he expelled members of Russia's diplomatic corps and issued sanctions on Russia's mining and oil industry.

Lavrov added, however, that Moscow was ready to "normalize the bilateral ties with the USA and cooperate on important worldwide issues".

It's not the first time the United States has implemented punitive measures against Russian Federation.

Thirty-five Russian diplomats were expelled from the United States in December under sanctions President Barack Obama imposed over Russia's alleged meddling in the 2016 election.

The new package of sanctions aims to hit President Vladimir Putin and his inner circle by targeting allegedly corrupt officials, human rights abusers and crucial sectors of the Russian economy, including weapons sales and energy exports. Now, it's on President Donald Trump to sign the sanctions into law. Those sanctions also include punishments for Iran and North Korea.

Russia's Foreign Ministry dismissed the new sanctions as "creating unfair competitive advantages for the USA economy".

Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Putin didn't wait for Trump's reaction to the sanctions bill because "the form in which it emerged from the Senate had greater significance".

The move comes after Russia has repeatedly expressed anger at Washington barring its diplomats access to two compounds in the USA in December previous year, under Barack Obama, in response to suspected Russian meddling in the United States election.

The Russian Foreign Ministry said it would retaliate again if the United States made a decision to expel any Russian diplomats, Reuters reported.

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