US begins Russia drawdown after Kremlin retaliates for sanctions

By REUTERS
August 1, 2017 13:00
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Breaking news. (photo credit: JPOST STAFF)

 
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MOSCOW - The United States began removing furniture and equipment from a diplomatic property in Moscow on Tuesday in the first sign of compliance with a Kremlin order to slash its presence in Russia as retaliation for new US sanctions.

President Vladimir Putin has ordered the United States to cut around 60 percent of its diplomatic staff in Russia by Sept. 1, and said Moscow will seize two US diplomatic properties in response to sanctions approved by Congress last week.

The White House has said US President Donald Trump will sign the sanctions bill, meant as a response to alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 US presidential election and to further punish Moscow for its 2014 annexation of Crimea from Ukraine.

On Tuesday, removal men began dismantling play equipment and barbecues at a US-owned dacha (country villa) on the outskirts of Moscow, after being refused access the day before, according to a Reuters journalist at the scene.

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