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Russia Could Expel U.S. Diplomats in Response to Fresh Sanctions

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Russia could seize U.S. embassy property on the outskirts of Moscow if a bill approved by the U.S. House of Representatives strengthening sanctions against Russia is implemented, the Kommersant newspaper reported on Thursday.

Citing sources from Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Kommersant said that if President Donald Trump were to sign the bill, 35 U.S. diplomats could also be expelled from Russia.

The retaliatory measures would mirror the White House's decision in December last year to confiscate two Russian diplomatic compounds in New York and Maryland and expel 35 Russian diplomats from the country.

Russia is also considering reducing the maximum number of employees in the American diplomatic mission in Moscow, which currently exceeds the number of Russians who work in the embassy in Washington, Kommersant said.

The Kremlin could also retaliate by softening its stance towards North Korea and abstaining on UN Security Council votes of importance to the United States, analysts cited by Kommersant said.

The bill proposes strengthening sanctions against Russia, Iran and North Korea, and introduces legislation that would de-facto bar the U.S. president from removing future or current sanctions without Congress approval.

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