Russia Expels 10 US Diplomats in Response to Washington.
Russia responded in kind on Friday to a barrage of new US sanctions, saying it would expel 10 US diplomats and take other retaliatory measures in a tense standoff with Washington.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov also said Moscow will add eight US officials to its sanctions list and take steps to restrict and stop the activities of US non-governmental organizations so that they do not interfere in Russian politics.
He said the Kremlin suggested that US Ambassador John Sullivan follow the lead of his Russian counterpart and head home for consultations. Russia will also act to deny the U.S. Embassy the ability to recruit Russian and third-country personnel as support personnel.
The moves follow sanctions on Russia announced this week by the Biden administration.
While the United States wields the power to cripple the Russian economy, Moscow lacks the levers to respond in the same way, although it could harm American interests in many other ways around the world.
Lavrov noted that while Russia could take “painful measures” against US business interests in Russia, it would not immediately act to do so.
Russia has denied interfering in the 2020 US presidential election and its involvement in SolarWind’s attack on federal agencies, the activities punished by the latest US sanctions.
Russia’s Foreign Ministry warned of “inevitable” retaliation, claiming that “Washington should realize that it will have to pay a price for the degradation of bilateral relations.”
The United States on Thursday ordered the expulsion of 10 Russian diplomats, targeted dozens of companies and individuals and imposed new restrictions on Russia’s ability to borrow money. Experts had predicted that while Moscow would respond in kind to the expulsions, it would refrain from any other significant moves to prevent further escalation.
Russia’s economic potential and global reach are limited compared to the Soviet Union, which competed with the United States for international influence during the Cold War. Still, Russia’s nuclear arsenal and its influence in many parts of the world make it a power Washington must be reckoned with.
Aware of this, President Joe Biden called for tensions to be lessened and kept the door open for cooperation with Russia in certain areas. Biden said he told Putin on Tuesday’s call that he decided not to impose tougher sanctions for now and proposed to meet in a third country in the summer.
Lavrov said the summit offer was being analyzed.
While the new US sanctions further limited Russia’s ability to borrow money by prohibiting US financial institutions from buying Russian government bonds directly from state institutions, they did not target the secondary market.
“It’s very important that there are no penalties on secondary debt because that means non-US people can buy the debt and sell it to US people,” said Tom Adshead, research director at Macro-Advisory Ltd, an analyst and advisory firm.
Tighter restrictions would also hurt Western companies, inflict significant economic pain on the Russian population, and allow Putin to mobilize anti-American sentiments to shore up his rule.
Increased sanctions could drive Russia into a corner and spark even more reckless action by the Kremlin, such as a possible escalation in Ukraine, which has recently faced increased clashes with Russian-backed separatists in the east and east. a massive accumulation of Russian troops throughout the territory. border.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy was in Paris on Friday to discuss tensions with French President Emmanuel Macron. German Chancellor Angela Merkel would join them in a call later.
Fyodor Lukyanov, a leading foreign policy expert who leads the Moscow-based Defense and Foreign Policy Council, predicted Putin would likely accept Biden’s invitation to join next week’s call on climate change but could delay in accept the summit offer.
“There is no way to make a deal,” Lukyanov said. “There is a mutual antipathy and a total mistrust.”
He claimed that the only practical outcome of the summit could be an agreement to start long and difficult talks on a replacement for the New START nuclear reduction agreement that Russia and the United States extended in February for another five years.
Lukyanov noted that mounting pressure from the United States will bring Russia and China closer together in the long term.