Donald Trump has expressed gratitude to Vladimir Putin for helping America reduce the number of its teeming embassy staff in the country.
According to a report from The Telegraph, Putin has just acknowledged a decision which was taken few weeks ago by his government. He ratified an expulsion of over 700 Americans from Russia.
Image: Donald Trump
In what has been described as the largest expulsion of staff around the world in decades, Putin reportedly vetoed a bill which will see a total of 755 employees relieved of their duties.
The new decree comes as an offshoot of Mr. Trump’s “involuntary” consent to sanctions imposed by the US Congress with regards to Russia’s alleged involvement during America’s last presidential election.
“This was the boldest Russian attempt to influence US politics since the Cold War, although previous operations had been noted in 2008 and 2012. Its perceived success means the next will likely be better-resourced,” the official statement from America’s Intelligence Community reads.
“I am grateful to my friend Putin because his actions will help America cut down on payroll,” said Mr Trump.
His comment on the withdrawal comes barely three weeks after Putin’s government announced it on 28 July.
“…And as far as I’m concerned, I’m very thankful that he let go of a large number of people because now we have a smaller payroll. There’s no real reason for them to go back.
“So I greatly appreciate the fact that they’ve been able to cut our payroll for the United States.
“We’ll save a lot of money,” the 71-year-old billionaire added.
America has an embassy in Moscow and three other consulates which have around 1,279 employees in their payroll.
The reduction among embassy staff stands at 60 percent although, according to New York Times, most of the downsized workers are Russians and not American citizens.
The US State Department is yet to verify how many diplomats will be axed from their jobs, as well as confirm if they will be removed from Mr. Trump’s payroll.
Nonetheless, Jon Huntsman, who was nominated by the president as US ambassador to Russia, says the expulsion of embassy staff will greatly affect the time it takes to process visas for Russian nationals, adding that those workers have a huge role to play in preparing foreign policy documents sent to the US government in Washington.
Michael McFaul, a former US ambassador to Russia agreed with Huntsman’s perspective on the matter.
“Cutting our staff by 755 people will do tremendous damage to our diplomatic mission in Russia,” McFaul said.
“That the president does not appreciate this obvious fact suggests that he does not understand what embassies do in the pursuit of American interests.”