Russia, with its apparent unhappiness about new sanctions, has asked the US to cut its diplomatic staff in the country. The Russian President, Vladimir Putin has asked to cut 755 US diplomatic members.
Deadline for Reducing US Diplomatic Staff
The Russian authorities have given the time limit for 1st September for reducing the US diplomatic staff. The reduction in number will bring the strength of the US diplomatic staff in Russia to 455.
Putin Not Happy with Current State of US-Russia Relations
The Russian President said that he was hoping to improve the relations with the United States after Trump came to power. However, he believes that things turned out differently. Furthermore, he does not hope the situation will improve anytime soon. Similarly, he added that the President of Russia does not expect for the betterment of relations anytime soon. Also, the President said that he wanted to make sure that he would reply this time.
There is currently more than 1,000 US diplomatic staff working in one Moscow embassy and three other consulates in the country. Vladimir Putin said that his country could impose additional sections against the US. Similarly, his country does not like the reduction in diplomatic staff. Furthermore, there are many other areas where he thinks the US needs Russian cooperation. But, he said that Russia would not refuse to cooperate as it will hurt American interests.
US Reaction to US Diplomatic Staff Sent Back Home
The US State Department regretted the decision, terming it “uncalled for.” There was uncertainty if Trump would impose new sanctions on Russia. The US Senate has already approved the bill. Only Trump needs to sign it to impose the sanctions. Once he signs the bill, the President of the US cannot ease these sanctions on Russia. To lift these sanctions, he will have need congressional approval.
The move by Russia is reminiscent of the Cold War between the two countries. The Obama Administration had expulsed around 35 Russian Diplomats out of the United States. This move reflects the conclusion of US intelligence agencies of Russia’s alleged involvement in the US 2016 Presidential Elections.
EU Not Happy with Russian Sanctions
The new sanctions will hurt the energy needs of the EU. The European Union countries are already in talks to strongly react to these sanctions. EU, being the ally of the US, is upset about the new sanctions. These sanctions could potentially impact the Nord Stream 2. Nord Stream 2 is a gas pipeline between Germany and Russia currently under construction.
Many of the EU countries are against this arrangement between Russia and Germany. The main opposing countries like Poland and Central Asian Countries think this project will increase energy dependence on Russia.
EU officials in Brussels agree that the implications of the new Russian sanctions will have far reaching impacts. It will affect the ability of the EU countries to assist with maintenance and upgrade of the pipelines inside Russia. These pipelines send energy to Ukraine. Furthermore, it may impact the development of a gas field at the coast of Egypt.
Is It An Opportunity for Russia?
It is not easy to predict what course of action will Europe take after the fresh sanction Russia. However, Europe that has always remained loyal to the US. May now be considering its relations with the US in the light of new sanctions. Russia will try to grab this opportunity with both hands. The US will have difficulty finding proponents of its foreign policy if new sanctions bring Russia and EU closer.