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White House pondering response to reduction of US missions staff in Russia

August 01, 4:03 UTC+3 WASHINGTON

Last week, U.S. Congress passed a bill envisioning a further toughening of the U.S. unilateral sanctions against Russia, Iran and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea

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WASHINGTON, August 1. /TASS/. The U.S. Administration is pondering options of a response to Russia’s decision to cut down the numeric strength of the diplomatic and technical personnel of U.S. diplomatic missions in Russia to the level of parity, or 455 persons in all.

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders told a news briefing on Monday the Administration officials were looking at the possible options and they would say something more definitive at a later date.

Last week, U.S. Congress passed a bill envisioning a further toughening of the U.S. unilateral sanctions against Russia, Iran and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. The document received the support of 98 senators versus two votes against it. In the House of Representatives, the vote in favor of the bill was 419-3.

Administration officials said President Trump planned signing the bill into law.

Last Friday, the Russian Foreign Ministry offered Washington to reduce the number of diplomatic and technical personnel at the embassy in Moscow and the Consulates General in St Petersburg, Yekaterinburg and Vladivostok to match the number of Russian missions personnel in the U.S. The exact figure is 455 persons.

Simultaneously Moscow warned it would mirror any further moves against the Russian diplomats and personnel in the U.S., should Washington undertake them.

Russian President’s press secretary Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Monday it was up to Washington to decide who of the current staff would retain their positions and who were leaving.

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