Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Friday Moscow would order 10 U.S. diplomats to leave Russia in a retaliatory response to the latest round of sanctions introduced by Washington.
Lavrov also said eight U.S. officials would be added to its sanctions list and move to restrict and stop the activities of American non-government organizations from interfering in Russia's politics, NBC News reports.
He also said that U.S. Ambassador John Sullivan was advised to travel "home for consultations," TASS reported.
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As Kommersant notes, unlike declaring the ambassador persona non grata, such an intermediate form of demarche by the receiving side means that after some time the head of the diplomatic mission may return.
At the same time, in the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations of 1961, there is no option of "sending an ambassador for consultations" as such.
Among other measures taken, Moscow will prohibit American diplomatic missions from hiring Russian and third-country nationals. The practice of "uncontrolled short-term travel of employees to work in the U.S. diplomatic missions in Russia" will also be discontinued.
While Russia has a possibility to take "painful measures" against the American business in Russia, it wouldn't immediately move to do that, he added.
The moves follow a barrage of new sanctions on Russia announced this week by the Biden administration. The U.S. on Thursday ordered 10 Russian diplomats expelled, targeted dozens of entities and persons, and imposed new restrictions on Russia's ability to borrow money.
Russia has denied interfering in the 2020 U.S. presidential election and involvement in the SolarWind hack of federal agencies — the activities punished by the latest U.S. sanctions.