Sept. 5 (UPI) — Russian President Vladimir Putin said Tuesday that additional cuts to U.S. diplomatic staff in his country are possible, following similar moves by the United States last week.
His remarks at a summit in Xiamen, China, came days after the United States ordered Russia’s San Francisco consulate closed by Sept. 1, lowering the number of U.S.-based Kremlin diplomats to 455.
The U.S. order came after Moscow cut more than 700 diplomatic positions from American diplomatic staff in Russia.
“Russia and the United States should have parity in terms of personnel or diplomats in their missions in each other’s country. I believe there were 1,300 American diplomats working in Russia and 455 Russian diplomats in the United States. We have balanced the figure.” Putin said Tuesday.
Putin also called some of the stances taken by U.S. government officials “boorish.”
“The Americans had the right to reduce the number of our diplomatic offices. It is another matter altogether that they have done this in way that was absolutely uncivil,” Putin added. “This does not do reflect well on our American partners. It is difficult to talk to people who confuse Austria and Australia. But there is nothing we can do about this; this is the level of political culture among part of the American establishment.
“As for the American people, America is truly a great nation if the Americans can put up with so many politically uncivilized people.”
Putin added that he plans to instruct Russia’s Foreign Ministry to file a legal challenge to the closing of Russian diplomatic facilities in the United States.
“We’ll see how efficient the much-praised American judiciary is,” he said.
The cuts at the San Francisco consulate included an FBI search of the building, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said earlier — noting that the U.S. State Department expects the building to be sold.
Putin was in China Tuesday for a summit of BRICS — Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.