MOSCOW – The Russian government plans to expel ten American diplomats and prohibit other American officials from traveling to Russia in retaliation for the sanctions announced by the Biden government this week, the Russian foreign minister said on Friday.
Although Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said other measures would be announced later, limiting the initial response to only diplomatic expulsions, the Russian government did not hint at an escalation that could worsen already dire relations between the countries.
Ten American diplomats stationed in Russia are being asked to leave the country, and eight previously unnamed officials in the Biden government will be banned from entering Russia, Lavrov said.
President Biden suggested that the sanctions would signal a tougher line towards Moscow, despite leaving a door open for dialogue after years of deferential treatment under the Trump administration. Mr Lavrov called the sanctions an “absolutely unfriendly and unprovoked act”.
However, if the Russian response were largely limited to the expulsions and travel bans, it would be a positive sign that the Kremlin does not intend to increase diplomatic stakes and may remain open to invitation to a summit, possibly in the European country at some point Summer that Mr. Biden extended to President Vladimir V. Putin this week.
This is a developing story.