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Trump will sign Russian Federation sanctions bill, White House says


The Russian Foreign Ministry warned it would respond in kind if Washington chose to expel any Russian diplomats. Trump has denied any collusion between his campaign and Russian officials.

The Russian Foreign Ministry complained of growing anti-Russian feeling in the United States, accusing "well-known circles" of seeking "open confrontation".

In a phone call later with U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov insisted that the measures from Moscow were a "necessary step", his ministry said.

Lavrov and Tillerson "agreed to maintain contact on a range of bilateral issues", the Russian foreign ministry said.

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.

It wasn't immediately clear how many USA personnel would have to leave under the new order.

Russian Federation has ordered the U.S. to cut hundreds of diplomatic staff in retaliation for a new round of United States sanctions, and said it was seizing two USA diplomatic properties.

The legislation, McCain said would impose mandatory sanctions on transactions with the Russian defence or intelligence sectors, including the FSB and the GRU, the Russian military intelligence agency that was primarily responsible for Russia's attack on USA election.


Moscow has already responded, ordering a reduction in the number of U.S. diplomats in Russian Federation and closing the U.S. Embassy's recreation retreat.

"Hiding behind its "exceptionalism", the United States arrogantly ignores the positions and interests of other countries", it said.

Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov met outgoing U.S. ambassador John Tefft today to inform him of the counter measures, Russian news agencies reported. "Ambassador Tefft expressed his strong disappointment and protest".

Most US diplomatic staff, including around 300 US citizens, work in the main embassy in Moscow, with others based in consulates in St Petersburg, Yekaterinburg and Vladivostok.

The ministry said the number was being cut to 455 diplomats.

The US also expelled 35 Russian diplomats and denied Russian diplomatic staff access to the NY and Maryland compounds. The first face-to-face meeting between Trump and Putin, in Hamburg, Germany, earlier this month, failed to yield a breakthrough. Lawmakers said they also made adjustments so the sanctions on Russia's energy sector didn't undercut the ability of US allies in Europe to get access to oil and gas resources outside of Russian Federation.

European Commission spokesman Alexander Winterstein said Friday that European officials "will be watching how this process unfolds and then, of course, we'll be watching equally attentively how this law, . if and when it enters into force, will be applied in practice".

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