When Obama announced the expulsion of 35 Russian diplomats and the seizure of Russian diplomatic compounds in Maryland last December, in response to alleged Russian interference in the election, Putin just smiled and said Russia would not retaliate, expecting that relations between Russia and the US would normalize under president Trump. Six months later, relations have not only not normalized but have deteriorated further following the latest round of sanctions against Russia despite daily allegations that Trump colluded with the Kremlin to convince several million Americans to vote against Hillary.
And, as a result, Putin’s patience appears to have run out, and according to Russian newspaper Izvestiya, the Kremlin is set to expel around 30 US diplomats and freeze some US assets in a retaliatory move against Washington.
Quoting a Foreign Ministry source, the Izvestiya newspaper says the move is due to the failure to reach an agreement on two Russian diplomatic compounds in the US seized by the outgoing Obama administration in December last year.
“There is a preliminary agreement on holding a meeting between Russian Deputy Prime Minister Sergey Ryabkov and US Under Secretary of State Thomas Shannon in St. Petersburg. If the compromise is not found there, we will have to take such measures,” a source in the Russian Foreign Ministry told the Izvestiya newspaper.
Izvestiya also cited Andrey Klimov, a senator in the upper house of Russia’s parliament, who said that “Russia had already waited more than six months for the Trump administration to improve the relationship between the two countries” and was now forced to strike back.
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