Russian Federation orders out USA diplomatic staff, may seize properties

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Moscow's retaliation, announced by the Foreign Ministry on Friday, had echoes of the Cold War.

The statement comes after Moscow's decision to reduce the number of United States diplomatic staff in Russian Federation and suspend the use of American embassy storage facilities.

Tensions between Russia and the U.S. over the sanctions bill come on the heels of the congressional investigations into Russian hacking into the 2016 election, which USA intelligence services have said was an effort to influence the election in Trump's favor.

With that in mind, President Vladimir Putin announced that Russian Federation wouldn't retaliate after the December sanctions, preferring to wait until the Trump administration moved into the White House. The statement made no reference to Russia's retaliatory measures.

In the wake of the announcement, Russia's benchmark Micex Index extended declines, retreating as much as 1.6 per cent, the biggest intraday drop in six weeks. Corker's statement says that "the House has committed to [.] pass enhancements to the North Korea language", suggesting that the sections concerning North Korean sanctions could become stricter, the Washington Post reported. Trump has repeatedly said he wants better relations with Moscow and, according to his communications director Anthony Scaramucci, still doubts Moscow's involvement in the election campaign.

Russian Federation has always denied interfering and Mr Trump insists there was no collusion. Russian Federation has denied meddling in the USA election.

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Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Putin didn't wait for Trump's reaction to the sanctions bill because "the form in which it emerged from the Senate had greater significance".

It said Russian Federation has done its "utmost" to normalize bilateral relations and develop cooperation with the US on the important issues.

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. Two of the USA properties used by Russian diplomats were seized, one is located in Maryland and the other in New York City.

A diplomatic source told Reuters that it would be for the United States to decide which posts to cut, whether occupied by U.S. or Russian nationals.

Russia had originally threatened the ouster of diplomats and seizure of property in December after the USA ordered 35 Russian envoys out of the US and seized two embassy compounds outside NY and Washington in protest of alleged Russian meddling in the election.

Russian state television channel Rossiya 24 said over 700 staff would be affected but that was not confirmed by the foreign ministry or the U.S. embassy. The American ambassador, John F. Tefft, had expressed "his strong disappointment and protest," the statement said.

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As the below infographic shows, the United States imports more goods from Russian Federation than it exports, according to data provided by the U.S. Census Bureau.

Russian Federation also is suspending the use of a USA storage facility in Moscow and a country house, or dacha, outside Moscow by Tuesday.

In December, the outgoing Obama administration seized two Russian diplomatic compounds - one in NY and another in Maryland - at the same time as it expelled Russian diplomats.

Under the legislation, he would be forced to consult Congress first.

The bill permits more sanctions in the form of freezes on bank assets, denial of entry visas and other steps in the same vein for the supposed actions that allegedly undermine cybersecurity in the U.S.in the interests of the government of the Russian Federation.

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