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Russia retaliates against new U.S. sanctions

Will Trump sign new sanctions bill?

Russia's Foreign Ministry on Friday announced countermeasures in response to new U.S. sanctions, setting a deadline for Washington to reduce its in-country diplomatic staff and ordering the closure of some American facilities in Russia.

In a statement, the foreign ministry said it would require the number of U.S. diplomats in Russia to be reduced by September 1. The statement also said that if the United States further reduced the number of Russian diplomatic staff currently allowed in the U.S., Russia would mirror that action.

The U.S. Embassy in Moscow issued a response, saying, "we have received the Russian government notification.  Ambassador Tefft expressed his strong disappointment and protest.  We have passed the notification back to Washington for review."  

Russia's retaliatory move came one day after the U.S. senate voted to approve a new package of sanctions against Russia, Iran and North Korea and sent it to U.S. President Donald Trump to sign. The legislation bars Mr. Trump from easing or waiving the penalties on Russia unless Congress agrees. The White House has not said definitively whether Mr. Trump will sign the bill.

Russia had been threatening a response to any new U.S. sanctions, with Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova telling reporters earlier this month that Moscow would "have to take reciprocal measures" if issues between the two countries were not resolved.

On Thursday, Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke out against what he called "anti-Russian hysteria" in Washington, saying Russia wouldn't "endlessly tolerate this kind of insolence."

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