Trump ready to sign Russian Federation sanctions bill, Moscow retaliates

CORRECTING SPELLING OF NAME NIINISTO- Finnish President Sauli Niinisto right welcomes Russian President Vladimir Putin at Savonlinna Eastern Finland on Thursday

The United States will be forced to cut hundreds of its embassy staff in Russian Federation, the Interfax news agency quoted a source as saying, after Moscow retaliated on Friday for what it said were proposed illegal USA sanctions against it.

The bill would affect a range of Russian industries and might further hurt the Russian economy, already weakened by 2014 sanctions imposed after the Ukraine crisis.

German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel and Austrian Chancellor Christian Kern earlier condemned the draft of new USA sanctions, which, they said on June 15, were about "selling American liquefied natural gas and ending the supply of Russian natural gas to the European market". "And now these sanctions - they are also absolutely unlawful from the point of view of worldwide law".

The Russia sanctions in H.R. 3364 are an unusual signal of disapproval of Trump from congressional Republicans.

In passing the measure, Congress essentially forced the president to decide between taking a harder stance against Russia or issue a veto amid investigations into ties between his campaign and Russian officials.

The US House of Representatives approved by a 419-3 vote on Tuesday a new version of a bill that would impose sweeping sanctions on Russia, Iran and North Korea, and limit President Donald Trump's ability to lift the restrictions on Moscow.

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"He may sign the sanctions exactly the way they are or he may veto the sanctions and negotiate an even tougher deal against the Russians", Scaramucci told CNN.

Earlier on Thursday, Senator Bob Corker, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, told reporters: "I would guess that he (Trump) will sign it". The sanctions also apply to Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps security force.

The White House says Trump supports sanctions on the three countries in question and will review the legislation. If Trump rejected the bill, Corker said, Congress would overrule him.

Speaking on an official visit to Finland, Putin said an ongoing joint naval exercise with China in the Baltic Sea was a threat to nobody. "It's impossible to endlessly tolerate this boorishness towards our country".

"This goes beyond all reasonable bounds", Putin said.

The Russian Foreign Ministry also warned the U.S. it would respond in kind if Washington chose to expel any Russian diplomats. "And now these sanctions - they are also absolutely unlawful from the point of view of worldwide law".

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