MOSCOW (Sputnik) — On Thursday, Trump welcomed the decision of Russian President Vladimir Putin to cut down the number of staff of US diplomatic missions in Russia as it would help the US government save money.
"Trump had to comment on the event somehow and that is why he used such a playful manner, when in fact this stresses that the decision taken by the Russian side is quite painful for Washington," Novikov said.
Alexei Chepa, the deputy head of the State Duma committee, said that the decision demonstrated the despair of the US President.
"Trump says that because he found himself in an uncomfortable position as he understands that this move by our Foreign Ministry was inspired by [former US President Barack] Obama's administration in December 2016 and by recent Congress sanctions… But he realizes that that this response on our part will cause significant harm to the United States, that is why he had nothing else to do but to react in a kind of a playful manner," Chepa explained.
In December 2016, the administration of former US President Barack Obama imposed a set of punitive measures against Russia, including the expulsion of 35 Russian diplomats and the closure of the two Russian diplomatic compounds. The actions were taken in response to Moscow's alleged interference in the US presidential election, which Russia has repeatedly denied.
US diplomatic missions in Russia include Moscow-based embassy and three consulates general — in Saint Petersburg, Vladivostok and Yekaterinburg.