US Missions Set To Cut Up To 300 Diplomatic Staff

Posted August 01, 2017

Putin, at a joint news conference with Finnish President Sauli Niinisto, also spoke about Obama's order last December to seize Russian diplomatic property in the United States and to expel 35 Russian diplomats.

A USA sanctions bill on Russia, Iran, and North Korea is a "malicious step", Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday.

A key provision in the House bill would require Congress to approve the suspension of sanctions, blocking the president from doing so unilaterally.

The legislation also limits the USA president's ability to ease any sanctions on Russian Federation by requiring Congress' approval to lift any restrictions.

The package, which targets Russia, Iran and North Korea, "tightens the screws on our most risky adversaries in order to keep Americans safe", House Speaker Paul Ryan said after it passed on Tuesday by 419 votes to three.

European commissioners, the EU executive's top officials, "expressed their concerns notably because of the draft Bill's possible impact on EU energy independence", the bloc said in a statement following talks in Brussels on Wednesday.

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But Mr Trump has sought closer ties with Russian Federation, and has the power to veto the bill despite its political support.

Corker is already planning to tie Trump's hands on North Korea just like the Congress is about to do on Russian Federation.

Trump's likelihood of supporting the measure is a remarkable concession that the president has yet to sell his party on his hopes for forging a warmer relationship with Moscow.

Obama expelled members of Russia's diplomatic corps, ordered Russia's Foreign Ministry to vacate two compounds it owns in Maryland and NY and sanctioned Russia's mining and oil industries.

Thursday's bill includes legislation that Donnelly co-led, the Countering Iran's Destabilizing Activities Act, which passed the Senate in June on a 98-2 vote.

"It's just not a good way to start a presidency to veto something and then be soundly overridden", Corker told reporters.

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The legislation puts Trump in a hard position.

Russian Federation is kicking US diplomats out of Russian Federation and closing down a USA embassy retreat center near Moscow in retaliation for Congress passing new sanctions against them.

Moscow ordered the U.S. to reduce its diplomatic presence in Russian Federation to 455 diplomats and staff and also barred it from using a Moscow summer house and storage facility.

Congressional negotiators reached a deal Wednesday night to send new sanctions, paving the way to send a bill to Trump's desk that slaps Russian Federation with new sanctions and limits Trump's ability to alter them.

The U.S. was Russia's third-largest trading partner in 2016 with exports and imports valued at $25.6 billion, though that's still only about five percent of Russia's overall trade.

"The countries could overcome more critical problems by taking joint action", Putin said.

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