On Friday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Moscow will expel 10 US diplomats in response to a series of anti-Russia actions by the Biden administration.
The US announced on Thursday a wide array of sanctions on Russian individuals and entities. The White House also said it is expelling 10 Russian diplomats, which Moscow is responding to in kind.
“Ten diplomats were on a list the US side handed over to us asking to ensure their leaving the United States. We will give a tit-for-tat response to that. We will also ask ten US diplomats to leave our country,” Lavrov told a news conference. He also said Russia is expelling five Polish diplomats in response to Warsaw’s decision to expel three Russian diplomats.
The Russian Foreign Ministry also published a list of eight current and former US officials that are banned from entering Russia in response to US sanctions. Included in the list of banned officials are FBI Director Christopher Wray, Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines, former National Security Advisor John Bolton, Director of the US Domestic Policy Council Susan Rice, and James Woolsey, a former CIA chief.
Despite the incredibly hostile action against Russia, when announcing the measures, Biden claimed that he wants to “de-escalate” with Moscow. “Now is the time to de-escalate. The way forward is through thoughtful dialogue and diplomatic process,” he said. Earlier this week, Biden spoke with Russian President Vladimir Putin and proposed an in-person meeting.
On Friday, the Kremlin said it was “good” that Biden is seeking dialogue. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Putin has long been calling for better ties and more communication with the US. “He has repeatedly said that we are ready to develop our dialogue to the degree that our counterparts are ready for this,” Peskov said.
Peskov also slammed the US for its hostile measures and said Washington’s “addiction for sanctions remains unacceptable.”