The diplomatic relations between the United States and Russia have hit a new low after Russian President Vlamidir Putin announced yesterday that 755 U.S. diplomats need to be removed from the country. The Russians had announced their plans to order the U.S. to cut back on diplomatic staff on Friday and yesterday Putin announced that as many as 755 U.S. personnel will need to leave Russia by September 1.

An unprecedented step

The Russian President's announcement and the staggering order to remove 755 U.S. diplomatic staff from Russia is an unprecedented step in the recent history of U.S.-Russia relations.

The Russians had announced last Friday that they have ordered the U.S. to cut down on the staff at their embassies and consulates in Russia and at the time it was expected that the number will end up being in the hundreds. President Putin, however, made the figure official yesterday and now the US will need to ensure that the staff members leave Russia by September 1.

The move comes after the U.S. Congress senators voted in favor of a bill that further strengthens the existing U.S. sanctions against Russia. According to a BBC correspondent in Washington, DC, there has never been an act of this magnitude against the diplomatic personnel of a country and there is no doubt that it marks a watershed moment in the history of US-Russia relations.

Putin's miscalculation?

According to BBC's defense and diplomatic correspondent Jonathan Marcus, the reaction could also have been triggered by Putin's belief that the sanctions against Russia were going to be lifted following the electoral victory of Donald Trump in last year's elections. However, that did not happen and in addition to that, Moscow's aspiration of being looked upon as an equal diplomatic entity to the U.S.

has also been dashed. It seems that Putin might have miscalculated the sort of influence Donald Trump was going to have on the U.S.'s Russia policy.

The number of 755 that Putin announced is not a coincidence either. When 755 diplomatic personnel are cut from the U.S. embassies and consulates, the staff strength of 455 will be equal to that of the Russian diplomats in Washington.

Puting said, "More than 1,000 people were working and are still working. 755 people must stop their activities in Russia." In addition to that, a number of properties in Russia, including those used for holidays by American diplomats have also been seized by the Russians. The U.S. called the measures uncalled for and regrettable.