North Korea promises 'act of justice' if United States imposes more sanctions

By Andrew Osborn

Russian Federation on Friday responded to new sanctions proposed by United States legislators by ordering Washington to reduce its diplomatic staff.

A ministry statement sets a September 1 deadline to "bring the number of diplomatic and technical staff at the US Embassy in Moscow, the consulates general in St Petersburg, Yekaterinburg and Vladivostok, into strict correspondence with the number of Russian diplomats and technical staff now working in the United States, by Sept. 1, 2017".

"In the event of new unilateral steps by the US authorities to reduce the number of our diplomats in the USA, a tit-for-tat response will follow", the ministry said.

Both houses of Congress backed the bill, which also includes measures against Iran and North Korea, but it was thought Mr Trump might veto it.

Russian President Vladimir Putin tossed President-elect Donald Trump a bouquet in December when he chose not to retaliate for the United States expulsion of Russian diplomats and seizure of Russian diplomatic compounds. Moreover, the new USA sanctions curtail the involvement of US firms and citizens in Russia's energy sector, so additional restrictions would only hurt Russia's economy more.

Relations between Russian Federation and the United States dropped to a post-Cold War low following Russia's annexation of Crimea and interference in eastern Ukraine in 2014.

Lavrov and Tillerson "agreed to maintain contact on a range of bilateral issues", the Russian Foreign Ministry said in statement. This blackmail aimed at restricting Russias cooperation with its foreign partners threatens many countries and worldwide businesses.

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Russian Federation is ready to normalize relations with the United States and to cooperate on major global issues, Moscow's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in a phone call on Friday, July 28, according to Reuters.

Russian Federation has ordered the United States to cut down the number of diplomats it has in the country.

The EU extended its economic sanctions on Russian Federation last month. It was not immediately clear how many US diplomats now serve in Russian Federation. "New sanctions should always be coordinated with allies", the European Union president said.

German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel said Berlin won't let up in pushing for a joint approach.

"We will continue to want to work together".

"(That) is going to pay dividends for Moscow, so there is no need to turn him away from the course he is already on which is self-destructive and bad for America's standing internationally.

He added that sanctions are not "an appropriate instrument to promote national export interests and the domestic energy industry". Speaker Paul D. Ryan called the passage of the House version as "one of the most expansive sanctions packages in history".

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