Russian Federation retaliates for sanctions by ordering cut to diplomatic staff

Cheryl Sanders
July 29, 2017

Russian Federation took the step after the U.S. Senate on Thursday sent a breath-taking signal that it does not trust Trump on Russian Federation by passing a bill that imposes new sanctions on Moscow and ties the president's hands if he seeks to ease them.

Legislation hitting Russia, Iran and North Korea with additional financial sanctions has a hit a snag in the Senate.

At the same time, the version the House passed with a vote of 419-3 would curb President Trump's authority when it comes to waiving those sanctions.

Corker had earlier objected to including the North Korean sanctions, initially favoring to address that issue in a separate bill. The bill would authorize sanctions on entities that provide North Korea with crude oil, or employ guest workers from the country, who often work in inhumane conditions and are denied access to basic wages and benefits.

Russia's response mirrors moves by outgoing President Barack Obama last December to expel 35 Russian diplomats and shut down two Russian estates in the U.S.

It said in a statement that the decision by Congress to impose new sanctions confirmed "the extreme aggression of the United States in worldwide affairs".

"This is a serious problem for US national security interests linked to the wide range of issues on which Russians and Americans have to find ways to work together", Rojansky said via email.

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". He particularly objects to a passage barring presidential interference aimed at easing the sanctions. Trump has privately expressed frustration over Congress' ability to limit or override the power of the White House on national security matters, saying that it is complicating efforts to coordinate with allies - particularly those in Europe that have taken a different approach to sanctions.

The European Union is remaining vigilant about the package of new US sanctions on Russian Federation, amid fears the penalties could harm the bloc's energy security and impact European companies.

A spokesman for the European Commission said Friday that European officials will be watching the USA effort closely, vowing to "remain vigilant".

The White House had no immediate comment. "We continue to support strong sanctions against those three countries", Sanders said on Thursday.

Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said Wednesday that Moscow would likely retaliate against the United States if the sanctions are imposed.

According to Ryabkov, this is a "negative spiral".

Lavrov added, however, that Moscow was "ready to normalize the bilateral relations with the US and cooperate on important global issues". But he has little choice but to sign the bill due to the enormous support for the measure on Capitol Hill. But the U.S. Senate's approval of expanded economic sanctions against Russian Federation on Thursday changed that calculus.

Trump hasn't threatened to reject the bill even though Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and other senior administration officials had objected to a mandated congressional review should the president attempt to ease or lift the sanctions on Russian Federation.

Other reports by iNewsToday