Donald Trump to sign Russia sanctions bill, Moscow retaliates

Donald Trump will sign legislation that imposes sanctions on Russia, the White House said on Friday, after Moscow ordered the United States to cut hundreds of diplomatic staff in retaliation for the measures and said it was seizing two U.S. diplomatic properties. Moscow’s decision, which had echoes of the Cold War, was announced by the Foreign Ministry on Friday, a day after the US Senate overwhelmingly approved new sanctions on Russia.

The legislation was in part a response to conclusions by US intelligence agencies that Russia meddled in the 2016 US presidential election, and to further punish Russia for its annexation of Crimea in 2014. Late on Friday, the White House issued a statement saying Mr Trump would sign the bill after reviewing the final version. The statement made no reference to Russia’s retaliatory measures.

Russia had been threatening retaliation for weeks. Its response suggests it has set aside initial hopes of better ties with Washington under Mr Trump, something the US. leader, before he was elected, had said he wanted to achieve. Relations were already languishing at a post-Cold War low because of the allegations that Russian cyber interference in the election was intended to boost Mr Trump’s chances, something Moscow flatly denies. Mr Trump has denied any collusion between his campaign and Russian officials.

The Russian Foreign Ministry complained of growing anti-Russian feeling in the United States, accusing “well-known circles” of seeking “open confrontation”.

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