MOSCOW (Sputnik) — The Russian Foreign Ministry suspended the use of all US Embassy warehouses and its compound in Moscow and also offered the US to cut down the number of its diplomatic staff in Russia to 455 people by September 1. Moreover, the ministry said that it reserves the reciprocal right to hit US interests in response to the US sanctions bill.
"Of course such measures are impossible without authorization by the president," Peskov told reporters.
The US Senate approved a bill in a 98-2 vote on Thursday to impose sweeping sanctions on Russia, Iran and North Korea and limit US President Donald Trump's ability to lift the restrictions on Moscow. The bill passed the House of Representatives on Tuesday by a vote of 419 to 3. The measures target Russia's defense, intelligence, mining, shipping and railway industries, and restrict dealings with Russian banks and energy companies.
"The form in which it [the sanctions bill] came out after the Senate likely carries more importance," Peskov told reporters in explaining the Russian Foreign Ministry's response without awaiting Donald Trump to sign into law or veto the bill.
"Technologically, this form seems almost final," Peskov said.
The bill, which is yet to be approved by US President Donald Trump, has already prompted criticism within the European Union. France and Germany have so far spoken out against the bill that the US House passed overwhelmingly on Tuesday as one that adversely affects European industries while advancing US commercial interests.
Back in December, Putin decided not to respond to sanctions imposed by the outgoing US administration and act in accordance with the ties built with the new US leadership. However, since then, the diplomatic property hasn't been returned. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said earlier that Moscow would take retaliatory measures against Washington if the situation with Russia's diplomatic property in the United States was not resolved.