The New York Times reports: President Vladimir V. Putin announced on Sunday that the American diplomatic mission in Russia would have to cut its staff by 755 employees, a response to the new American sanctions that escalated the tensions between Washington and Moscow.
“Over 1,000 employees — diplomats and technical workers — worked and continue to work today in Russia; 755 will have to stop this activity,” he said, according to both a clip shown on state-run Rossiya 1 television and a transcript provided by the Interfax news agency.
Although the reduction in American diplomatic staff had been announced on Friday, in response to a law passed in Congress last week expanding sanctions against Russia, the president’s statement was the first to confirm the large number of embassy personnel involved.
Speaking in a television interview on the Rossiya 1 network, Mr. Putin said that Russia had run out of patience waiting for relations with the United States to improve.
In announcing the response on Friday, Russia said that it wanted to reduce the American diplomatic presence in Russia to 455 people, mirroring the number of Russian diplomats accredited to the United States. In addition to the main embassy in Moscow, the United States also runs consulates in St. Petersburg, Yekaterinburg and Vladivostok. [Continue reading…]