Vladimir Putin announced his plan to cut down the number of U.S. diplomats operating in the Russian Federation on Sunday. According to CNN, the Russian leader is reportedly targeting to reduce the number of American employees working in Moscow to 455, which is equal to the number of Russian diplomats working in the United States.

Moscow to decrease U.S. diplomats in country

This would mean that over 700 employees will be ordered to stop their operations in Russia to reach the set goal on or before September 1. A Russian news outlet reported that the move would affect 745 of 1,200 employees of the U.S. embassy and consulates in Moscow.

Aside from that, the Russian Foreign Ministry has called out the United States to decrease the number of diplomatic staff working in Russia. It also announced that they would occupy two U.S. diplomatic properties in Moscow starting August 1.

These announcements were made after the White House confirmed Donald Trump's intention to sign their new legislation against Russia over their alleged interference during the U.S. elections last year. This was after the Congress was given the power to counter any effort that would reduce the number and intensity of sanctions against Russia for their alleged meddling.

The new sanction policy also covers penalties against North Korea and Iran. The U.S. president had discussed the "critical elements" of the bill after he reviewed the initial draft. He was later given the final version and reportedly expressed his interest in signing it.

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Russia opposes U.S. sanctions bill

Vladimir Putin was quick to express his opposition to the new Russia sanctions legislation, stating that the U.S. is trying to "use geopolitical advantages in competition to pursue [their] economic interests at the expense of [their] allies."

Several members of the European Union thought this move by the U.S. government would have a direct impact on European businesses operating in Russia. EU president Jean-Claude Juncker suggested that the White House should coordinate with its allies in crafting new sanctions against Moscow.

The Russian president, on the other hand, admitted that it would take some time before he can see any improvement in Russia-U.S. relations given the current state. "We had such hope that the situation would change, but judging by the situation that will not be soon," Vladimir Putin said.

Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov even warned U.S. to expect Russia's retaliation over their new sanctions policy.