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Russian President Vladimir Putin lamented the poor level of diplomatic competence demonstrated by Washington lately, saying Moscow found it difficult to work with people who cannot tell Austria and Australia apart.
Speaking to journalists on Tuesday, Putin said the Americans were acting like bullies by shutting down Russian diplomatic facilities.
“The Americans were in their right to reduce the number of our diplomatic facilities. But they did it in an obviously bullying manner, and that does no credit to our American partners,” he said.
“It’s difficult to have a dialogue with people who confuse Austria and Australia. There is nothing to do about it. Apparently that’s the level of political culture of a certain part of the American establishment.”
“America is really a great nation and the Americans are a great people if they can endure so many people in their government with such a low level of political culture,” Putin remarked.
“We have agreed with our partners that there should be parity of the number of diplomatic staff in Russia and the United States. There were some 1,300 diplomats from the US; we had 455. We corrected this.”
“But among those 455 diplomatic staff working in the United States there are 155 people working at the United Nations. Strictly speaking, they are not part of the diplomatic corps accredited by the US State Department,” he added.
“So true parity would be the US not having 455 diplomats in Russia, but 155 fewer.”