Russia put the Czech Republic and the United States on the list of “unfriendly” countries. The decision has repercussions on the appointment of Russian employees to the countries’ embassies in Moscow.
According to a Russian government decree signed on Thursday but published on Friday, the two countries have been declared “unfriendly”. This means that the Czech Republic will be severely restricted in hiring Russian staff at the Embassy in Moscow. The United States is not even allowed to employ Russians in its embassy in the Russian capital.
The signing of the decree comes just days before the first meeting between US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken and his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov.
The Czech Republic and Russia have been in a diplomatic spat since April, because the Czech Republic suspects Russia was behind the 2014 attack. Since then, the number of embassy staff from both countries has dropped dramatically.
The United States also recently announced that it will reduce consular assistance to Americans in Russia to a minimum. Due to stricter regulations, fewer employees were allowed, which is now being reduced even more.
In late April, Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the Foreign Ministry to draw up a list of “unfriendly” countries, with the aim of protecting “Russia’s interests and security”.