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MOSCOW, July 28. /TASS/. In response to the fresh round of anti-Russian sanctions, Moscow will reduce the number of US diplomats in Russia to 455 people and suspend the use of warehouses in the southern section of the capital and the property in Serebryany Bor by the US Embassy in Moscow as of August 1, the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Friday.
On July 27, the US Congress passed a new bill specifying tougher sanctions against Russia.
Despite Washington’s invectives, Moscow "has acted responsibly showing restraint and has not responded to obvious provocations," the ministry noted. "However, recent events indicate that Russophobia and the policy aimed at open confrontation with our country have reigned supreme in some circles in the US," the Russian Foreign Ministry said.
In light of this, Moscow has proposed to cut the number of diplomatic and technical staff working in the US Embassy to Moscow and the Consulates General in St. Petersburg, Yekaterinburg and Vladivostok to the exact number of Russian diplomats and technical staff members working in the US before September 1. "That means that the total number of the staff engaged in US diplomatic and consular establishments will be reduced to 455 people," the Russian Foreign Ministry explained.
"In the event of new unilateral steps by the US authorities to reduce the number of our diplomats in the US, a tit-for-tat response will follow," the ministry’s statement said.
In addition to that, Russia suspends the use of all the warehouses and the property in Serebryany Bor in Moscow by the US Embassy as of August 1.
"On the basis of reciprocity, we reserve the right to additional measures, which could affect US interests," the ministry said.
The US actions once again attest to Washington’s extremely aggressive policy in international affairs, which, "under the guise of its 'exceptionalism,' "arrogantly ignores other countries’ stances and interests," the Russian Foreign Ministry said.
Russia "has been doing its utmost to normalize bilateral relations, develop ties and cooperation with the US on the most important issues on the international agenda, including, above all, fighting terrorism, the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, drug trafficking, illegal migration, cyber crime and so on. Moscow continues to proceed from the assumption that global problems could be effectively solved through joint efforts only.
"We are confident that this approach is shared by most people on the planet," the Russian Foreign Ministry stressed.
The US has been persistently pushing ahead with its anti-Russian crusade under the far-fetched pretext of Russia’s alleged meddling in its internal affairs. "All that contradicts the principles of international law, UN Charter provisions, WTO regulations and elementary standards of civilized international communication," the ministry emphasized.
Decisions on illegal sanctions against Russia have been made, Russian diplomatic property formalized in legally binding bilateral documents has been seized, and Russian diplomats have been expelled from the country. "This clearly violates the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations and generally accepted diplomatic practice," the Russian Foreign Ministry’s statement reads.
The passage of a new sanctions bill clearly showed that relations with Russia "have become hostage to internal political strife in the US." "In addition to that, the new legislation sets the goal, using political tools, to create unfair competitive advantages for the US in the global economy," the ministry noted. "Such blackmail aimed at restricting foreign partners’ cooperation with Russia poses a threat to many countries and international businesses."