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Putin confirms US diplomatic missions in Russia will be cut

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(Photo by Marianna Massey/Getty Images for USOC)

MOSCOW  — Russian President Vladimir Putin on Sunday confirmed that US diplomatic missions in Russia will be cut by 755 people, following a sanctions bill the US Congress passed last week.

The Russian Foreign Ministry on Friday demanded that the United States cut its diplomatic staff in Russia and said it would seize two US diplomatic properties in a sharp response to the new US sanctions bill.

Putin had hoped relations would improve with the US, but now says it does not appear that will happen soon, according to state media.

“We waited a long time for things to perhaps change for the better,” state media quoted Putin as saying. “We had such hope that the situation would change, but judging by the situation that will not be soon.”

On taking retaliatory measures, Putin said, “I thought it was time for us to show that we will not leave this without an answer. As for other possible measures, or whether it is a lot or not, this is quite sensible from the point of view of the work of the diplomatic department. …”