Putin confirms United States diplomatic missions in Russian Federation will be cut

Lock and cord symbolizing data security

It is the harshest such diplomatic action since the waning days of the Cold War and nearly certain to ratchet up tensions between two governments that were already struggling to find common ground.

Pence's weirdly sympathetic "very hopeful" comments about Russian Federation represent just the latest example of how the Trump administration can't seem to stand up to Moscow. But since Trump's inauguration, the controversy over Moscow's meddling in the election has only grown, creating a significant barrier to closer ties.

The bill was approved by large majorities in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives.

Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump at the G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany, earlier this month.

On Sunday, Russian President Vladimir Putin said the USA diplomatic presence would be reduced to 455 people, so as to reflect the number of the remaining Russian diplomatic workers.

The new sanctions bill, which also imposed new measure on Iran and North Korea, was passed last Thursday in Congress with overwhelming support from both parties (only two senators and three congressman voted against).

"The Russians are disappointed". Trump has dismissed the investigations as a "witch hunt" and an excuse by Democrats to explain his upset win over former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

It was not clear then how many reassignments that would mean from the Moscow embassy and the three USA consulates in Russian Federation.

Trump has so far been silent on Russia's action.

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence spoke in Eastern Europe Monday after the embassy staff reductions were announced by Putin.

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"There are also issues of cybersecurity", Putin pointed out, having also referred to joint Russia-US scientific projects in space, such as plans to jointly explore Venus.

He did not mention the president by name. The Kremlin is also set to seize two USA diplomatic compounds.

He said Russian Federation continues to try to change worldwide borders by force, "undermine democracies" and "divide the free nations of Europe, one against another". According to the State Department's website, the appointment wait time is 38 calendar days.

As we reported last week, Russian Federation was considering to put a blanket ban on all VPN services ahead of its upcoming election. Putin added bluntly that Russian Federation was able to raise the stakes with America even further, although he hoped this would be unnecessary.

On Friday, Russian's Foreign Ministry ordered a reduction by September 1 in the number of US diplomatic personnel in Russia.

RUSSIA'S Washington embassy hit out yesterday at US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson's weekend suggestion that fresh anti-Moscow sanctions signified a desire for improved bilateral relations.

"Over 1,000 employees - diplomats and technical workers - worked and continue to work today in Russian Federation; 755 will have to stop this work", he said. Both Russia's Vladimir Putin and China's Xi Jinping are known to have tightened their control over the media, and both countries' governments own publications with the sole objective of disseminating the leadership's agenda to the public. But the USA must proceed cautiously and with due regard for Russia's hostile behavior toward the US and its allies.

"The link to the poll was distributed in student communities, the universities' and schools' groups through social networks (VKontakte, Instagram, Twitter and Facebook) in more than 30 Russian regions", the center said. "They did this because they didn't have a lot of other options". Crimea was once part of the Soviet Union.

Diplomatic staff from the United States embassy in Russia were prevented from retrieving their belongings Monday after being told by Russian officials that they could pickup their property until mid-Tuesday, Reuters reported on Tuesday.

Last December, Trump's predecessor Barack Obama ordered 35 Russian diplomats to leave the United States, saying the actions were being carried out in response to Moscow's alleged attempt to interfere in the election. Additionally, one does not have to look for a compromise: Russian Federation either has to accept what the U.S. says about certain events and their consequences or Russian Federation is declared an enemy. I hope it won't get to that point.

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