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MOSCOW, August 28. /TASS/. Russia’s Foreign Ministry is working on reciprocal measures to respond to the US bill toughening unilateral anti-Russian sanctions, the ministry’s spokeswoman, Maria Zakharova, said on Monday.
"As for the sanctions, such reciprocal measures will be looked at, as Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov said. We are forced to respond," she said in an interview with the Dozhd (Rain) television channel.
"I cannot say anything about the date, format and so forth, as these things have yet to be considered," she said, adding that Russia would not respond to the United States' plans to suspend issuance of nonimmigrant visas for Russians or the change in the work schedule of US consulates in Russia.
In late July, the US Congress passed a bill tightening unilateral sanctions against Russia, Iran and North Korea. The document, dubbed Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act, enshrines restrictions introduced by the previous US administration and deprives the US president of the right to ease the restrictions without congressional approval. US President Donald Trump signed this bill into law on August 2 but said that a number of its provisions violated the country’s constitution and accused US lawmakers of doing harm to US-Russian relations.
After the voting at the US Congress on further anti-Russian sanctions, Moscow 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 staff working in the United States. It means that the total number of US diplomatic personnel is to be cut to 455. In an interview with TV host Vladimir Solovyov, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that as many as 755 US diplomats and technical personnel were to leave Russia.
On August 21, the US embassy in Russia said it would suspend issuance of nonimmigrant visas to Russians from August 23. From September 1, such visas will be issued only in Moscow.