The Russian President Vladimir Putin has confirmed that the US diplomatic presence in Russia will be reduced by 755 individuals. This follows from the earlier announcement that Russia is to cut off US access to certain storage facilities the US Embassy uses in Moscow.
President Putin stated,
“The American side has made a move which, it is important to note, hasn’t been provoked by anything, to worsen Russian-US relations. (It includes) unlawful restrictions, attempts to influence other states of the world, including our allies, who are interested in developing and keeping relations with Russia.
We’ve been waiting for quite a long time that maybe something would change for the better, we had hopes that the situation would change. But it looks like, it’s not going to change in the near future… I decided that it is time for us to show that we will not leave anything unanswered”.
This is the clearest indication yet from any Russian politician that the hopes for improved Russia-US relations under Donald Trump have now been dashed by the arm of a US Congress that seems unstoppable in its desire to make things increasingly difficult between the US and Russia as well as between the EU and Moscow.
With Russia, Iran, North Korea, China and the EU all dead set against sanctions, it is fair to say that the sanctions bills which passed easily through both Houses of the US Congress are universally unpopular outside of the elite circles of Washington.
Although both Vladimir Putin and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov stated that US cooperation in Syria will continue, America’s sanctions still could further jeopardise the cooperation between Moscow, Amman and Washington in respect of the joint ceasefire in south western Syria, less than a month after it came into effect.
It is furthermore becoming increasingly clear that for all of the hysteria in the western mainstream media of Donald Trump being an autocratic leader, the reality is that the very office of American President has been weakened by a Congress that want business as usual in spite of the stated aims of POTUS.
Detente is official over, at least for now.