Putin: No guarantees on future US diplomatic staff cuts

Putin: No guarantees on future US diplomatic staff cuts

Russian President Vladimir Putin said Tuesday he held out the option of future of U.S. diplomatic staff cuts in Russia.

“We reserve the right to take a decision on the number of U.S. diplomats in Moscow,” Putin said during a news conference, Reuters reported. "But we won’t do that for now. Let’s wait and see how the situation develops further."

Putin also noted it is the right of the U.S. to reduce the number of Russia's diplomatic facilities.

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“The only thing is that it was done in such a clearly boorish manner. That does not reflect well on our American partners," Putin said.

"But it’s difficult to conduct a dialogue with people who confuse Austria and Australia. Nothing can be done about it. Probably such is the level of political culture of a certain part of the U.S. establishment.”

“As for our buildings and facilities, this is an unprecedented thing,” Putin said. “This is a clear violation of Russia’s property rights. Therefore, for a start, I will order the Foreign Ministry to go to court - and let’s see just how efficient the much-praised U.S. judiciary is.”

The Trump administration last week ordered Russia to shutter a consulate in San Francisco and annexes in Washington, D.C., and New York.

Moscow had earlier ordered the U.S. to cut diplomatic staffing in Russia in response to new sanctions signed by President Trump and passed overwhelmingly by Congress.