Washington, Aug 2 (EFE).- US President Donald Trump signed a bill into law on Wednesday imposing additional sanctions on Russia, a White House official told EFE.
The law, approved last week by the Senate, stiffens the sanctions on Russia in response to Moscow’s alleged interference in the 2016 presidential election, its actions in Ukraine and Syria and its human rights violations, and it would limit Trump’s ability to lift those sanctions without the approval of Congress.
The president signed the bill into law after last week Moscow ordered the US to substantially cut back on its diplomatic staff in Russia in response to the latest sanctions approved by the US Congress.
The Russian Foreign Ministry on July 28 ordered the US government, starting Sept. 1, to reduce the number of diplomats and staffers working at its embassy in Moscow and at the consulates in St. Petersburg and other cities, to the number of Russian diplomatic personnel allowed in the US.
That measure means cutting the diplomatic, technical and support payroll at the US diplomatic missions in Russia to 455 people, the Russian government said.
On July 27, the US Senate, with overwhelming bipartisan support in a 98-2 vote, voted to impose the sanctions, along with other sanctions on North Korea and Iran to punish them for continuing with their weapons development programs.
In addition, the US House of Representatives already had approved the bill in a 419-3 vote.
Russian President Vladimir Putin last week attributed the sanctions to “anti-Russia hysteria” in the US, and his Foreign Relations Ministry said that they represent a serious setback in the prospects for normalizing bilateral relations.
Despite the sanctions, however, Trump has been trying to improve relations with Russia since taking office in January, although his efforts have been eclipsed by the ongoing investigations into possible links between his election campaign and the Kremlin.