Russia signals expulsion of 35 US diplomats in sanctions retaliation

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Russia’s foreign minister has suggested the expulsion of 35 US diplomats in response to a new round of American sanctions against Moscow.

Sergey Lavrov said the foreign ministry and other agencies have suggested that Russian president Vladimir Putin should order the expulsion of 31 employees of the US embassy in Moscow and four diplomats from the US consulate in St Petersburg.

Another suggestion is to bar US diplomats from using their summer retreat on the outskirts of Moscow and a warehouse in the south of the city.

The call comes after US president Barack Obama imposed sanctions on Russian officials and intelligence services in retaliation over alleged Russian interference in the US presidential election, when American political sites and email accounts were hacked.

Thirty-five Russian diplomats were ordered to leave the US within 72 hours, and two facilities were closed.

A Kremlin spokesman said late on Thursday that it would be up to Mr Putin to draft retaliatory measures.

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