U.S. diplomatic staff in Russia have started the move-out process. It’s the first sign of compliance with Russia’s demands.
Moscow ordered Washington to slash its diplomatic presence in retaliation for new U.S. sanctions, which are expected to be imposed soon.
CGTN’s Jim Spellman reports.
It’s part of an ongoing diplomatic tit for tat. In addition to forcing the diplomatic staff to move, Russia is placing two U.S. properties off limits, all of it in retaliation for a bill passed in the U.S. Congress that includes more sanctions against Russia.
“The way out of this situation is through demonstration of political will to improve relations,” Demitry Peskov, Russia’s government spokesperson said.
The U.S. sanctions are meant to punish Russia for alleged interference in the U.S. election. Russia denies involvement.
President Donald Trump has yet to fully support findings from U.S. intelligence that Russia was behind the interference. The U.S. administration has instead focused on Russia’s relations with neighbors like Ukraine and Georgia.
“We hope for better relations with Russia,” said U.S. Vice President Mike Pence on his visit to Georgia. “But the recent diplomatic action taken by Moscow, I can assure you, will not deter the commitment of the United States to our security.”
Politically, it will be tough for Trump to push for lifting the sanctions. Many of the president’s critics said any easing of sanctions would be viewed as payback for Russia helping him win the U.S. election.
As diplomatic tensions grow, the White House is dealing with more troubling questions about Trump and Russia.
In June of 2016, President Trump’s son, Donald Trump Junior and two other election campaign officials met with several people linked to Russia after being promised damaging information about Trump’s rival Hillary Clinton. An initial statement from Trump Junior implied the meeting was merely about Russian adoptions.
The Washington Post, citing unnamed sources, now reports that President Trump himself was largely behind that misleading statement—dictating the response personally aboard Air Force One on the way back from the G-20 summit.
President Trump has yet to sign the Russia sanctions bill into law but the White House says Trump will do that soon. The new measure requires Trump to get congressional approval before easing sanctions, making it more difficult for him to ease tensions with Russia.
Kenneth Katzman on the latest on tensions between Russia and the US
To discuss the latest on the growing tensions between Russia and the U.S., along with the latest sanctions from America and Moscow’s retaliation, CGTN’s Asieh Namdar spoke with Kenneth Katzman, a senior analyst for the Congressional Research Service.