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USAid ordered out of Moscow as Putin's protest crackdown continues

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Russia has ordered a key US agency to shut down operations as Vladimir Putin continues to crackdown on a protest movement that he maintains was orchestrated by the US state department.

The government has given the US agency for international development (USAid) until 1 October to shut its office in Moscow. "While USAid's physical presence in Russia will come to an end, we remain committed to supporting democracy, human rights, and the development of a more robust civil society in Russia," state department spokesperson Victoria Nuland said in a statement.

The move appeared to be the latest salvo in the Kremlin's efforts to squeeze a protest movement largely borne of civil society efforts to highlight growing government abuses. In addition to funding health and environment projects, USAid mainly focuses on supporting groups that promote democracy and human rights in Russia.

"We regret this decision by the Russian government," a senior Obama administration official said. "We lament the fact that we will not be able to do the work that we've been proud to do. It's a difficult day."

after so long, what a shame.

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