Time: 9:29 a.m. CEST
Disturbed relations between Moscow and Washington continue to escalate. In a latest move, Russian President Vladimir Putin said in an interview with the Rossiya-1 television channel, the U.S. diplomatic missions will have to reduce their staffs by 755 people, the Washington Post publishes. As the Post writes, the request could lead to “the single largest forced reduction in embassy staff,” compared to reducing the staff after 1917 Communist revolution.
Putin wants number of American diplomatic and technical personnel equal to those of Russian counterparts in the United States. That number, the Post, writes is 455. About 1,200 employees work in the U.S. diplomatic missions in the U.S. in Russia. The Post notifies, “Putin’s remarks came during a 3½ -day trip by Vice President Pence to Eastern Europe to show U.S. support for countries that have chafed at interference from Moscow — Estonia, Georgia and Montenegro.”
According to a senior State Department official, cited by the Post, reduction in the personnel should happen by September 1. “This is a regrettable and uncalled for act. We are assessing the impact of such a limitation and how we will respond to it,” an official who spoke under condition of anonymity stated to Post.