The diplomatic relations between the United States and Russia hit a new low today. The Russians have asked the US to cut down the number of Staff at US embassies in a retaliatory measure thought to be linked to the latest bill of sanctions on Russia. According to those who are close to the developments, the US might need to bring back hundreds of members of staff from the embassies and consulates in Russia.

A retaliatory measure

When former President Barack Obama expelled some Russian diplomats from the United States toward the end of his tenure due to Russian interference in the Presidential elections last year, the Kremlin did not respond with similar expulsions.

However, after the US Congress passed the new bill of sanctions on Russia, they retaliated by ordering the United States to vastly reduce personnel at consulates and embassies in Russia.

Congress voted overwhelmingly in favor of the bill that backs the strengthening of the existing sanctions on Russia on Thursday, and today, the Russians retaliated with their order. What is even more interesting is that these sanctions cannot be reversed, even if President Donald Trump wanted to intervene, leaving Russia to take this measure as an act of retaliation.

A tough push back

Russia's push back might seem desperate on a surface level but the swiftness of the response comes across as quite harsh and something that the Americans did not expect. Additionally, the problems the orders will create for the United States are yet to be determined.

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The US embassy in Russia condemned the order but did not comment further on the developments. On the other hand, Sergei Ryabkov, the Deputy Foreign Minister of Russia, spoke to the media and made the intentions of the Russians quite clear. He said, “We don’t exclude any measures to bring the out-of-control Russophobes who are now setting the tone on Capitol Hill to their senses."

Obama expelled 35 diplomats, but according to the Russians, the US will now have to bring back a far greater number of people from the country. As it currently stands, the number of American diplomats in Russia far outnumber the number of Russian ones in America, hence, the US will need to send back a far greater number of diplomats. Ultimately, it will be interesting to watch this situation as it continues to develop. With the sanctions on Russia and the back and forth of removing diplomats, one has to wonder if the situation will continue to escalate.