Vladimir Putin confirmed Sunday that 755 US diplomatic staff would have to leave by September 1, as the Kremlin hit back at new sanctions passed by Congress last week. The Russian president justified the move by saying that relations with Washington were deteriorating, and added that Moscow was considering possible further measures. Putin revealed the extent of the cuts Sunday, having initially announced the decision to retaliate Friday. The order leaves the US mission with 455 staff in Russia, the exact same number the Kremlin has in the US.
According to a 2013 government report, the US mission in Russia—which includes an embassy in Moscow and consulates in St. Petersburg, Yekaterinburg, and Vladivostok—employed 1,279 staff. However, only 301 of those were US "direct-hire" staff, with the rest local support employees. Continue reading on VICE News.