He sent a warning this week, and on Friday, Russian President Vladimir Putin made good on past promises to retaliate against the United States for issuing ‘boorish’ economic sanctions against Russia for its alleged hacking of the 2016 President election.
The Kremlin on Friday seized two U.S. diplomatic properties in Moscow – reportedly a summer house and storage facility – and ordered that the U.S. reduce the number of diplomatic staff members at the U.S. embassy there.
The Russian Foreign Ministry said the U.S. must reduce its diplomatic staff in Russia to 455 people – the same number of Russian diplomats left in the U.S. after 35 Russians were expelled in December 2016.
This demand would reportedly mean that hundreds of Americans would be expelled from Russia. The U.S. has until September 1 to do this.
This week, the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate both voted to improve new sanctions on Moscow, as well as North Korea and Iran. President Donald Trump would also have to obtain lawmakers’ permission before reducing any Russian sanctions.
The bill has not yet been signed by Trump.
Putin has repeatedly denied Russia’s involvement in the election hacking.