Why Russia Ordered the U.S. to Reduce Its Diplomatic Staff

[ Originally published on this site as post ]

Russia ordered the U.S. Friday to reduce its diplomatic staff in the country to 455 and seized two American diplomatic properties. The move comes a day after the U.S. Senate passed a sweeping sanctions bill that would tighten restrictions on a range of Russian businesses and interests, setting up a clash with President Trump, who must now decide whether to sign or veto it.

The U.S. House of Representatives passed a similar measure earlier this week.

The Russian actions are the first direct retaliatory steps for President Obama’s action in December 2016 of expelling 30 Russian diplomats from the U.S. and seizing Russian diplomatic compounds in New York and Maryland in retaliation for Moscow’s interference in the U.S. presidential election. Russia had