Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that eight senior US officials will receive an entry ban to Russia, including (former) government members. They include FBI Director Christopher Wray, Attorney General Merrick Garland, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayuras, and former National Security Advisors John Bolton and Susan Rice.
Russia also ordered Ambassador John Sullivan to leave Moscow immediately to discuss the diplomatic row between the two countries in Washington. In addition, the US Embassy is no longer permitted to recruit employees from Russia itself or from other countries, and embassy employees face stricter travel restrictions in Russia. In addition, Russia will close the offices of US NGOs due to what Minister Lavrov described as interference in Russian politics.
These measures come in response to sanctions imposed by the Biden government on Thursday. This was a punishment for Russia’s involvement in the US presidential election last year and Russia’s involvement in a widespread penetration of the so-called SolarWind into US federal computer systems.
As part of the package, Washington fired ten Russian embassy employees, imposed sanctions on dozens of Russian companies and individuals, and restricted Russia’s ability to borrow money by preventing US banks from trading Russian government bonds.
Lavrov stressed that Russia is not looking for escalation and is open to dialogue with the United States. This appears to be a reference to US President Biden’s suggestion on Tuesday in a phone conversation with his Russian colleague Putin for a de-escalation between the two in a third country next summer. Austria and Finland have already announced themselves as potential hosts.
Russia also announced on Friday that it would expel five Polish diplomats. Poland also announced on Thursday that it would expel three Russian diplomats, along the lines of the United States.
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