In retaliation against Congress’s tough sanctions bill, Russia has seized two U.S. properties and ordering a reduction in American embassy staff in Moscow.
Moscow retaliated Friday for a new package of sanctions by the United States and ordered the expulsion of American diplomats and seized recreational property used by embassy staff.
Russia’s foreign ministry announced the retaliatory measures after the Senate approved a package of financial sanctions against Russia, Iran and North Korea. The legislation, already approved by the House, bars President Trump from easing or waiving the penalties on Russia unless Congress agrees.
Trump, who is ensnared by allegations of Russian hacking and possible collusion by his campaign to help him win the presidential election last year, still has to sign off on the new measures. He previously objected to the curbs on his ability to ease sanctions on Russia, a possibility he has raised in the past.
The Russian foreign ministry told Washington to cut its diplomatic staff to 455 by Sept. 1 and said it would shutter a dacha, or country retreat, used by U.S. diplomatic staff on the outskirts of Moscow, as well as some warehouse facilities.
The State Department did not immediately respond to the move.
Russian President Vladimir Putin previously signaled that his country was prepared to hit back against Washington for what he called “anti-Russian hysteria.”
The sanctions from Washington relate to Russia’s 2014 annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea territory and support for a rebellion by separatists in east Ukraine, as well as alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.
They target Putin and his inner circle, a group that the U.S. alleges includes corrupt officials and human rights abusers. The…