The U.S. State Department has slammed Russia’s decision to expel hundreds of US diplomats, calling the dramatic move a ‘regrettable and uncalled for act’.
The government agency announced it was ‘assessing the impact of such a limitation’ and how it will respond, following Vladimir Putin’s shock announcement on Sunday.
Putin called for the ejection of 755 US diplomats by September 1, effectively cutting the US diplomatic mission of roughly 1,200 in Russia by more than half.
The order from Moscow comes in response to a sanctions bill that passed in Congress on Thursday, which President Donald Trump has said he will sign into law.
The Kremlin had on Friday seized two diplomatic properties and ordered the US to cut its mission to 445, the same size as Russia’s in the US, but the new order from Putin is the first revelation of a headcount of expulsions.
Earlier on Sunday, a top Russian diplomat lambasted the United States Congress for voting to sanction Russia, and warned of further retaliation by Moscow.
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov told ABC’s ‘This Week’ that the US sanctions bill was ‘weird and unacceptable’.