Russia imposed an entry ban on eight Americans. Among them is FBI chief Christopher Ray. This measure comes on the heels of the sanctions announced by the United States against Russia last Thursday. “We can take painful action for American companies.”
The entry ban applies to current and former US officials, who, according to the Russian Foreign Ministry, are “participating in an anti-Russian course.”
In addition to Ray, there are a number of notable names on the penalties list. Likewise, former CIA director Robert Woolsey has been denied entry to Russia, as have John Bolton, the security advisor to Republican Presidents George W. Bush and Donald Trump.
Moscow will also expel ten US diplomats from Russia. This equals the number of Russian embassy employees who have to leave the United States. Additionally, the Kremlin bans NGOs and other US government agencies from operating in Russia.
He exempted US Ambassador John Sullivan from the sanctions, but recommended the Russian Foreign Ministry “go to Washington for consultations.” The ministry maintains that it is not about “pushing” Sullivan out.
Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov asks Washington to reduce the number of diplomats in Russia to three hundred – the equivalent of the Russian diplomatic service in the United States, excluding the personnel of the permanent Russian mission to the United Nations in New York.
In addition, Russia restricts short business trips of US State Department employees to Russia. The issuance of visas is kept at a minimum: up to ten people per year on a reciprocal basis.
Lavrov also promised economic sanctions, but at the same time indicated that Moscow did not have the means to pay the United States in equal currency. For example, the United States has banned the purchase of Russian government bonds from June 14. This is generally seen as a painful punishment, since the Russian state budget depends on this sale at about 30 percent. Lavrov added, “But we can take painful measures for American companies, and we will keep them in reserve.”
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