(CBSNEWS) – Russian President Vladimir Putin says the U.S. will have to cut its diplomatic staff in Russia by 755 under new sanctions from Moscow.
Russian’s Foreign Ministry on Friday ordered a reduction by Sept. 1 in the number of U.S. diplomats in Russia. It said it is ordering the U.S. Embassy to reduce the number of embassy and consular employees in the country to 455 in response to the U.S. Senate’s approval of a new package of sanctions.
“We had hoped that the situation will somehow change, but apparently if it changes, it won’t be soon,” Putin said in an interview televised on Rossiya 1, explaining why Moscow decided to retaliate. “I thought it was the time to show that we’re not going to leave it without an answer.”
It was not clear how many reassignments that would mean from the Moscow embassy and the three U.S. consulates in Russia.
Putin said in an interview broadcast on state television Sunday that he ordered the move because he “thought it was the time to show that we’re not going to leave that without an answer.”
Putin said more than 1,000 people are currently employed at the Moscow embassy and three U.S. consulates in Russia. They include both Americans and Russians hired to work in the diplomatic offices.
Russia is open to cooperating with the U.S. on various issues including terrorism and cybercrime but instead it “only hears unfounded accusations of meddling in U.S. domestic affairs,” the Russian leader said.