Trump could seek 'tougher' Russian Federation sanctions; Putin threatens retaliation

White House deputy press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders speaks during the daily press briefing at the White House in Washington. The White House indicated Sunday July 23 that President Donald Trump would sign

White House deputy press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders speaks during the daily press briefing at the White House in Washington. The White House indicated Sunday July 23 that President Donald Trump would sign

Russian Federation ordered the United States to cut its diplomatic staff by September 1 and said it was seizing a dacha compound and warehouse used by USA diplomats in retaliation for new U.S. sanctions against Moscow.

The order - which affects the U.S. Embassy in Moscow and consulates in St. Petersburg, Yekaterinburg and Vladivostok - would reduce the number of USA diplomatic and technical staff to 455, the same number Russian Federation has in the U.S., by September 1. It must pass the Senate before it can be sent to the White House for Trump to sign into law or veto.

Russian President Vladimir Putin tossed President-elect Donald Trump a bouquet in December when he chose not to retaliate for the US expulsion of Russian diplomats and seizure of Russian diplomatic compounds.

Republican Senator John McCain, a leading congressional voice calling for a firm line against Russian Federation, said before the vote: "The United States of America needs to send a strong message to Vladimir Putin and any other aggressor that we will not tolerate attacks on our democracy".

It also said it would seize a Moscow compound used by USA diplomats as well as a US diplomatic warehouse.

The Russian Foreign Ministry also warned the United States it would respond in kind if Washington made a decision to expel any Russian diplomats.

Russia's response, announced by the Foreign Ministry, came a day after the US Senate voted to slap new sanctions on Russian Federation, putting President Donald Trump in a tough position by forcing him to take a hard line on Moscow or veto the legislation and anger his own Republican Party.

Russia's foreign ministry said the cuts to staff would bring it to the same level as Russian embassy staff in Washington. It now goes to White House for President Trump's signature.

"We know that we have many friends in the United States, we know that there are lots of people with common sense", Putin added.

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Senators overwhelmingly approved the bill Thursday with a vote of 98-2, a day after the House and Senate agreed on the terms.

President Trump said Friday night he would sign the sanctions legislation because Congress was responsive to his input on the bill.

Relations between Russian Federation and the United States dropped to a post-Cold War low following Russia's annexation of Crimea and interference in eastern Ukraine in 2014.

It would impose mandatory visa bans and asset freezes on any individual that undermines the cybersecurity of public or private infrastructure and democratic institutions.

The European Union has also expressed concern about the new sanctions, saying they could have an impact on the European energy sector.

"We will continue to want to work together".

"President Donald J. Trump read early drafts of the bill and negotiated regarding critical elements of it", the White House said in a statement released Friday. We must not forget what is at stake: We want to overcome the conflict in eastern Ukraine.

"This kind of blackmail aimed at restricting the cooperation between Russian Federation and other nations is a threat for many countries and global businesses", the statement said. We agree that it needs political pressure on Moscow.

The possible new sanctions are likely to provoke a surge of serious tensions between the United States and Europe, according to Alexei Grivach, deputy head of the National Energy Security Fund and an expert with the Valdai discussion club.

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