Russia May Demand Further Reductions to US Diplomatic Staff

US Ambassador to Russia Jon Huntsman presents his credentials to Russian President Vladimir Putin. A top Russian diplomat said on October 11 that Moscow may demand further cuts to US diplomatic staff amid a row between the two nations.
US Ambassador to Russia Jon Huntsman presents his credentials to Russian President Vladimir Putin. A top Russian diplomat said on October 11 that Moscow may demand further cuts to US diplomatic staff amid a row between the two nations. Photo: US Embassy in Moscow.

The Kremlin may force the United States to cut its diplomatic staff to 300 people in response to the seizure of Russian diplomatic property and reductions in Russian mission personnel in the U.S.

“in diplomacy there is an inviolable principle of reciprocity, and Americans know this very well. If they behaved in this way, it means they agree that we can act in kind with their foreign institutions in Russia,” Georgiy Borisenko, director of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s North America department, said in an interview with Sputnik news agency. “With regards to specific measures, we will consider them, and if necessary, they will be applied.”

Moscow has already ordered the U.S. to reduce its diplomatic and technical staff in Russia to 455 people, a reduction of about 60 percent. In July, President Vladimir Putin said the order was meant to match the number of Russian staff working in the U.S. and was a response to a new U.S. law mandating additional sanctions on Moscow.

Mr. Borisenko said Wednesday that the number included United Nations personnel in New York.

“The fact that in the summer we took into account the people working for Russia’s mission at the UN, this was good will,” he added.

In response to the reduction, the U.S. last month ordered the closure of the Russian Consulate General in San Francisco and trade missions in Washington and New York.