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Putin reserves right to further reduce US diplomatic staff

PUTIN RESERVES RIGHT TO FURTHER REDUCE US DIPLOMATIC STAFF

Russia reserves the right to further cut the number of U.S. diplomatic staff in Moscow, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday, in response to what he called Washington's "boorish" treatment of Russia's diplomatic mission on U.S. soil.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has reserved the right to further reduce US diplomatic staff, as ties between the two countries deteriorate to their most dismal levels since the Cold War.

Russia could reduce the number of US diplomats in the country, but isn't planning to do so at the moment, Putin said on Tuesday at a conference in Xiamen, China.

Both countries have 455 diplomats in the other country, but 155 of the Russian diplomats in the US work at the United Nations.

A total of 155 diplomatic staff could consequently be reduced at US representations in Russia, state news agency TASS cited Putin as saying.

Relations between Moscow and Washington have crumbled in a series of tit-for-tat moves which have seen both countries continue reducing diplomatic staff and services.

Moscow has demanded that the size of the US mission in Russia be reduced, and most recently the US ordered Russia to close its San Francisco consulate as well as a chancery annex in Washington and consular annex in New York.

Putin was in China for a meeting of emerging economies known as BRICS, which consists of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.

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