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Moscow considering deeper cuts to US diplomatic staff in Russia – Los Angeles Times

Moscow is threatening to order an additional 155 American diplomatic personnel removed from missions in Russia in a further escalation of the cycle of retaliation between the two world powers.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Monday that Russia was seriously considering the additional cuts, although it had not yet made a formal petition. A senior State Department official, speaking on condition of anonymity, confirmed the Trump administration was aware of the possibility.

Earlier this year, Moscow ordered the U.S. to slash its staff in Russia by nearly two-thirds, to 455 people, by Sept. 1. In response, the U.S. ordered Russia to shutter its consulate in San Francisco and two trade offices, in Washington, D.C., and New York.

Washington and Moscow are basing their tit-for-tat on differing interpretations of “parity,” that principle that each government have an identical numerical presence in the other’s country. That was the justification Moscow used to cut the U.S. staff to 455, the same number Russia had here. The U.S. then said closing the San Francisco consulate meant each country would have three consulates.

Moscow considering deeper cuts to US diplomatic staff in Russia – Los Angeles Times

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