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Moscow reduces diplomatic mission staff in USA to 455

Moscow reduces diplomatic mission staff in USA to 455

John McCain, R-Ariz., said the bill's passage was long overdue, a jab at Trump and the GOP-controlled Congress. McCain, chairman of the Armed Services Committee, has called Putin a murderer and a thug.

Russia's moves came a day after the U.S. Senate voted to slap new sanctions on Russian Federation, putting President Donald Trump in a tough position by forcing him to take a hard line against Moscow or veto the legislation and anger his own Republican Party.

The bill will also grant U.S. Congress the power to block Trump from unilaterally lifting sanctions on Russian Federation.

Michael McFaul, the USA ambassador to Russian Federation from 2012-2014, said he does not think that Russian Federation will escalate tensions with the United States just yet because Trump's assertions that he wants better relations with Moscow are encouraging Putin to continue seeking some kind of accommodation with the U.S. president.

On Friday, the Russian Foreign Ministry suspended the use of all USA embassy warehouses and its compound in Moscow and also offered the United States to cut down the number of its diplomatic staff in Russia to 455 people by September 1.

European Commission spokesman Alexander Winterstein said Friday that European officials "will be watching how this process unfolds and then, of course, we'll be watching equally attentively how this law, . if and when it enters into force, will be applied in practice". The ministry is also suspending the U.S. Embassy's use of two sites - a storage facility and a dacha on an island in the Moscow River.

The bill, which recently passed the House with overwhelming bipartisan support, proposes stricter financial penalties for Russia's involvement "in eastern Ukraine, cyber intrusions and attacks, and human rights violators".

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Trump had privately expressed frustration over Congress' ability to limit or override the power of the president on national security matters, according to Trump administration officials and advisers. Trump's communications director, Anthony Scaramucci, had suggested Thursday that Trump might veto the bill and "negotiate an even tougher deal against the Russians".

But allegations from the USA intelligence community that Putin interfered in the United States elections to get Trump elected have made any concessions to Trump politically toxic. "I just don't think that's a good way to start off as president". House and Senate committees and the Federal Bureau of Investigation are examining possible ties between the Trump campaign and Russian Federation.

"Neither action will help the U.S. -Russia relationship, which was already at a hard level", said Pifer.

"Lavrov confirmed that our country is still ready to normalise bilateral relations with the U.S. and to cooperate on the most important worldwide issues", Russia's foreign ministry said after a phone call between the two top diplomats.

The bill underwent revisions to address concerns voiced by American oil and natural gas companies that sanctions specific to Russia's energy sector could backfire on them to Moscow's benefit. Those sanctions also include punishments for Iran and North Korea.

Even if Trump had made a decision to veto the bill, Congress could likely have mustered enough votes to override him.

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