By Neil MacFarquhar
MOSCOW – President Vladimir Putin announced on Sunday that 755 U.S. diplomats would be expelled from Russia by Sept. 1 in response to the new law passed in Congress last week expanding sanctions against Russia.
Although the expulsions had been announced Friday, the president’s statement was the first to confirm the large number involved.
Speaking in a television interview on the Rossiya 1 network, Putin said that Russia’s patience in waiting for improved relations with the U.S. had worn out.
“We waited for quite some time that maybe something will change for the better, had such hope that the situation will somehow change, but, judging by everything, if it changes, it will not be soon,” Putin said in the interview, according to Interfax news agency.