Russia replied in kind to a barrage of new US sanctions, saying it would expel 10 US diplomats and take on other retaliatory movements in Washington’s showdown.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov also said Friday that Moscow will add eight U.S. officials to its sanctions list and move to limit and discourage U.S. non-governmental organizations’ activities from interfering in Russia’s politics.
He said the Kremlin recommended US ambassador John Sullivan follow his Russian counterpart’s example and go home for consultations. Russia would also refuse the US embassy the possibility of hiring Russian and third-country employees as support staff.
The moves follow the Biden administration’s declared sanctions on Russia this week.
Although the US has the power to cripple the Russian economy, Moscow lacks levers to react in kind, while it could theoretically hurt American interests worldwide in many other ways.
Lavrov noted that while Russia could take “painful steps” against American business interests in Russia, it would not act immediately.
Russia denied interfering in the 2020 US presidential election and participating in the SolarWind hack of federal agencies, both of which were sanctioned by the new US sanctions. The Russian Foreign Ministry warned of “inevitable” retaliation, claiming that “Washington should know it would have to pay a price to degrade bilateral relations.”
The US ordered 10 Russian diplomats expelled Thursday, targeted hundreds of companies and individuals, and placed new curbs on Russia’s ability to borrow money. Pundits predicted that while Moscow would react to the expulsions in kind, it would refrain from any other major steps to avoid further escalation.
Russia’s economic opportunities and global scope are small compared to the Soviet Union, which fought in the cold war with the US for foreign influence. Still, Russia’s nuclear arsenal and leverage in certain parts of the world make it a force Washington needs to count on.
Aware of that, Joe Biden called for de-escalating tensions and opened the door to cooperation with Russia in certain places. Biden said in Tuesday’s call he told Putin not to enforce tougher sanctions for now and suggested meeting in a third country in the summer.
Lavrov said the summit offer was being analysed.
Russia| Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter @njtimesofficial. To get latest updates