Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov says Moscow will order 10 US diplomats to leave Russia, add eight US officials to its sanctions list
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Friday that Moscow will order 10 US diplomats to leave Russia in a retaliatory response to the US sanctions.
Lavrov also said that Moscow will add eight US officials to its sanctions list and move to restrict and stop the activities of US nongovernment organisations from interfering in Russia’s politics.
He added that while Russia has a possibility to take “painful measures” against the American business in Russia, it wouldn’t immediately move to do that.
The moves follow a barrage of new sanctions on Russia announced this week by the Biden administration.
While the US wields the power to cripple the Russian economy, Moscow lacks levers to respond in kind, although it potentially could hurt American interests in many other ways around the globe.
Russia has denied interfering in the 2020 US presidential election and involvement in the SolarWind hack of federal agencies — the activities punished by the latest US sanctions. The Russian Foreign Ministry warned of an “inevitable” retaliation, charging that “Washington should realise that it will have to pay a price for the degradation of bilateral ties.”
The US on Thursday ordered 10 Russian diplomats expelled, targeted dozens of companies and people, and imposed new curbs on Russia’s ability to borrow money.
President Vladimir Putin’s foreign policy aide, Yuri Ushakov invited US Ambassador John Sullivan on Friday to tell him about the Russian response.
Russia’s economic potential and its global reach are limited compared with the Soviet Union that competed with the US for international influence during the Cold War. Still, Russia’s nuclear arsenal and its leverage in many parts of the world make it a power that Washington needs to reckon with.
Aware of that, President Joe Biden called for de-escalating tensions and held the door open for cooperation with Russia in certain areas. Biden said he told Putin in Tuesday’s call that he chose not to impose tougher sanctions for now and proposed to meet in a third country in the summer.
Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the summit offer was being analyzed.