Putin lays down a number: US must cut 755 Moscow diplomats

Posted: Updated:
MOSCOW -

(AP) - Russian President Vladimir Putin has demanded that United States cut its embassy and consulate staff in Russia by 755 people, heightening tensions between Washington and Moscow three days after the U.S. Congress approved sanctions against Russia.

The U.S. State Department called Putin's move "a regrettable and uncalled-for act."

The announcement Sunday also came hours after U.S. Vice President Mike Pence landed in Estonia, which borders Russia, for talks with the country that holds the rotating European Union presidency.

Russian's Foreign Ministry on Friday ordered a reduction by Sept. 1 in U.S. diplomatic personnel in Russia to 455 people in response to a new package of American sanctions.

The sanctions seek to punish Moscow for meddling in the 2016 U.S. election and for its aggression in Ukraine and Syria.

Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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