This file photo taken on April 12, 2017 shows Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (R) welcoming US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson before a meeting in Moscow. AFP / Alexander NEMENOV
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Russia Friday ordered the United States to cut hundreds of diplomatic staff in retaliation for a new round of U.S. sanctions, and said it was seizing two U.S. diplomatic properties.The legislation was in part a response to conclusions by U.S. intelligence agencies that Russia meddled in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, and to further punish Russia for its annexation of Crimea in 2014 .Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson by telephone that Russia was ready to normalize relations with the United States and to cooperate on major global issues.The ministry added that the United States had until Sept. 1 to reduce its diplomatic staff in Russia to 455 people, the number of Russian diplomats left in the United States after Washington expelled 35 Russians in December.
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