The US is considering imposing tougher restrictions on travel of Russian diplomatic personnel within the country as a retaliatory measure to the recent decision of Russian President Vladimir Putin to cut the US diplomatic presence in the country, a Russian newspaper reported Monday, citing diplomatic sources.
According to the Izvestia newspaper, Washington was considering to halve Russian diplomatic employees’ existing travel zone from a 25-miles radius to 10-15 miles. Besides, every Russian diplomat would be obliged to notify the State Department three days prior if they intended to travel outside their posting for larger distance. The source added that, most likely, the Russian embassy in Washington would be no exception.
On Friday, the Russian Kommersant newspaper said, citing diplomatic sources, that the US authorities were considering asking Russia to shut down one of its consulates general in the United States. The diplomatic sources told the Izvestia newspaper that this measure was also examined by the State Department, but was considered by the US officials as a “lighter” one, compared to tightening travel restrictions.
In December, then US President Barack Obama expelled 35 Russian diplomats and banned Russia from accessing two of its diplomatic compounds. The decision came as a response to Russia’s alleged interference in the US election, which Moscow has repeatedly denied. In late July, Russia responded with calling on the United States to cut down the number of diplomats and technical staff of diplomatic missions in Russia to 455 people, cutting it by 755 people, on par with Russia’s diplomatic representation in the United States, by September 1.
On August 7, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told reporters that Washington would take retaliatory measures against Russia’s move to reduce the US diplomatic mission in Moscow by September 1.