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WASHINGTON, August 10. /TASS/. Russia would have never taken response measures against the United States if Washington imposed sanctions on Russia and never expelled Russian diplomats, the Russian embassy in the United States said on Wednesday.
The US Department of State Spokesperson, Heather Nauert, said earlier that Moscow’s decision to reduce US diplomatic staff in Russia was regrettable.
"If the United States’ previous administration did not expel Russian diplomats and close access to the Russian diplomatic property and if the current administration did not adopt the sanction act, we would not have had to resort to these measures. "The exchange of ‘pricks’ is not our choice," the embassy said in a commentary.
"We, too, stand for the improvement of bilateral relations and finding areas of cooperation. But it should not be done under pressure. It should be done on the basis of due account of each other’s interests and mutual trust," the embassy said.
On July 28, the Russian foreign ministry demanded that by September 1 Washington reduce the number of diplomatic and technical staff at the US embassy in Moscow and its consulates general in St. Petersburg, Yekaterinburg and Vladivostok, in order to match the number of Russian diplomatic personnel working in the United States. It means that the total number of US diplomatic personnel is to be cut to 455. In case the US takes further unilateral steps to cut Russian diplomatic staff, retaliatory measures will follow, the Russian foreign ministry warned.
Speaking to journalists on the sidelines of ASEAN events in Manila on Sunday, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Washington was considering response measures to the reduction of US diplomatic staff in Russia and would announce them by September 1.