Russian President Vladimir Putin has said in an interview with the Rossiya 1 TV channel that “755 American diplomats have to leave Russia as a result of Washington’s own policies,” RT reports.
Mr. Putin said, “The American side has made a move which, it is important to note, hasn’t been provoked by anything, to worsen Russian-US relations. [It includes] unlawful restrictions, attempts to influence other states of the world, including our allies, who are interested in developing and keeping relations with Russia.”
US-Russia tension began to escalate after U.S. Congress approved sanctions against Russia. The Russian foreign minister declared to reduce US diplomatic staff in Russia to 455 people.
“I decided that it is time for us to show that we will not leave anything unanswered,” President Putin
Putin further commented on his decision to cut 755 personnel at U.S. diplomatic missions in Russia, “We’ve been waiting for quite a long time that maybe something would change for the better, we had hopes that the situation would change. But it looks like, it’s not going to change in the near future… I decided that it is time for us to show that we will not leave anything unanswered,” the Russian president added.
Russian leader, however, hoped to maintain “important spheres of cooperation” between Moscow and Washington despite the diplomatic rift.
Russian President Putin said, “From the perspective of a working diplomatic mission, [the measure] is fairly sensitive.”
In an interview with vesti.ru, Mr. Putin seemed to justify his move, “Because over a thousand employees, diplomats and technical personnel have been working and are still working in Russia, and 755 of them will have to seize their work in the Russian Federation. It’s considerable.”
Putin said, “The personnel of the US diplomatic missions in Russia will be cut by 755 people and will now equal the number of the Russian diplomatic personnel in the United States, 455 people on each side.”