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With Sanctions Bill On Trump’s Desk, Russia Retaliates

 

The Senate voted 98 to 2 to approve new sanctions on Russia early Friday, and payback was swift: Russia’s Foreign Ministry announced within hours that it is reducing the number of US diplomats in Russia as of Sept 1. and shutting down the US Embassy’s recreational retreat, near Moscow. At a press conference before the retaliatory measures were announced, Vladimir Putin said Russia had behaved in a very “restrained and patient” way, but would have to respond to sanctions at some point, reports the Guardian. “It’s impossible to endlessly tolerate this kind of insolence towards our country,” Putin said. “This practice is unacceptable—it destroys international relations and international law.”

The Senate sanctions measure followed the House’s passing of sanctions by an overwhelming 419-3 margin. The sanctions target Russia for interfering in the 2016 US election and for military aggression in Ukraine and Syria. The measure will severely limit President Trump’s ability to suspend sanctions, and it’s not clear whether he will sign it, though fellow Republicans including Sen. John McCain have urged him not to reject a measure with veto-proof bipartisan support, reports the New York Times. “We will not tolerate attacks on our democracy. That’s what this bill is all about,” McCain said. “We must take our own side in this fight, not as Republicans, not as Democrats, but as Americans.”

 

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