Kremlin

Moscow to expel ten US diplomats in “tit-for-tat response”

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Moscow will give a tit-for-tat response to the expulsion of ten Russian diplomats from the United States, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov announced during a press conference on Friday (April 16).

“Ten diplomats were on a list the US side handed over to us asking to ensure their leaving the United States. We will give a tit-for-tat response to that. We will also ask ten US diplomats to leave our country,” TASS quoted the Russian top diplomat as saying.

Lavrov also added that 8 U.S. officials will be placed on a sanctions list.

“Some time ago, before the package [of sanctions] recently announced by Biden, the Americans added eight representatives of Russian structures, the Russian leadership, including the presidential administration and the Prosecutor General’s Office, to the sanctions list,” Lavrov said. “Today we will publish a list of eight officials who represent the governing structures of the Washington administration. They will also be included in our sanctions list.”

The Russian Foreign Minister also said the Kremlin will move against American nongovernment organizations immediately. “We will restrict and terminate the activities on our territory of American foundations and non-governmental organizations, which in fact, directly interfere in our domestic political life.”

The Russian government has the opportunity to impose more “painful measures” aimed at US businesses in Russia, but will refrain from using them for the time being.

Lavrov noted that should bilateral relations continue to aggravate, the US will be asked to level the number of employees in Russia from the current 450 staff members to 350, which is the headcount of workers Russia retains in the US.

The moves follow a barrage of new sanctions on Russia announced this week by the Biden administration. According to an executive order signed by the US President on Thursday (April 15) US companies cannot buy Russian debt securities issues by the Central Bank, the National Welfare Fund or the finance ministry after June 14, 2021.

Apart from that, the United States is expelling ten Russian diplomats from the Russian embassy in Washington, with “representatives of Russian intelligence services” among them, as the US side claims.

With reporting by TASS, AP