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Russia retaliates for sanctions by ordering cut to diplomatic staff

Russian President Vladimir Putin during a meeting in the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, on Friday, Feb. 3, 2017. | Alexei Druzhinin/Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP

Moscow retaliated Friday for a new package of U.S. financial sanctions by ordering a reduction in the number of American diplomats in Russia and closing a recreational retreat and other facilities used by embassy staff.

In a statement, Russia’s foreign ministry told Washington to cut its diplomatic staff to 455 by Sept. 1 and said it would shutter a dacha, or country vacation retreat, used by U.S. diplomatic staff on the outskirts of Moscow as well as some warehouse facilities.

The foreign ministry announced the measures after the Senate approved a new package of financial sanctions against Russia, Iran and North Korea. The legislation bars President Trump from easing or waiving the penalties on Russia unless Congress agrees. Trump still has to sign off on the new measures.

Washington did not immediately respond to the move. Russia’s foreign ministry said the cuts to staff would bring it to the same level as Russian embassy staff in Washington.