Russia in response to the US expelling 10 Russian diplomats and new US sanctions on Friday responded that the country would expel 10 US diplomats, a retaliatory move against Washington, Associated Press reported.
In a published list of eight, current and former US officials, the Russian foreign ministry published barred US officials including US Attorney General Merrick Garland, FBI Director Christopher Wray, Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines, and Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas, AP reported.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Moscow would also shut down those US non-government organizations that remain in Russia to end their meddling in Russia’s politics.
He called on the US Ambassador to Russia John Sullivan as an example of his Russian counterpart to head home for consultations, Lavrov further elaborated that his country will deny the US Embassy the possibility of hiring Russian personnel and from third countries as support staff, limit visits by US diplomats serving short-term stints at the embassy.
Kremlin is said to tighten and strict requirements for US diplomats’ travel in the country, according to Associated Press.
Other US officials banned from entering Russian are Susan Rice former U.N ambassador and currently head of the Domestic Policy Council, John Bolton former National Security Adviser under former President Donald Trump, James Woolsey former CIA director, and Michael Carvajal Director of the Federal Bureau of Prisons.
This comes as Unite States’ Biden Administration announced expelling 10 Russian diplomats and warned of imposing sanctions against dozens of the people and companies, American is holding Russia accountable for the interference in the last year’s presidential election and hacking federal agencies.
Associated Press reported that the measures taken by the US to punish Russia, US blamed the country to have cut the core of American democracy and are deterring future acts by imposing economic costs on Moscow, including targeting its ability to borrow money, these sanctions are certain to exacerbate tensions with Russia, President Joe Biden has said he could have taken extreme punitive actions but chose not to for the sake of maintaining stability.
“We cannot allow a foreign power to interfere in our democratic process with impunity,” Biden was quoted by the Associated Press.
The sanctions against Russian companies that facilitate cyber efforts are the first retaliatory measures against Moscow for the SolarWinds breach hack.
US is linking the intrusion to the Russian intelligence agency (SVR), though such intrusions are not uncommon, officials are determined to respond because of the operation’s broad scope and high cost of breach into private companies, AP reports indicated.
The US sanctioned 32 individuals and entities who are accused of attempting to interfere in the last year’s election and spreading disinformation, though there is no hard evidence that Russia has made the attempt to hack elections in favor of former President Donald Trump.
US actions signal a harder line against Putin, whom Trump was reluctant to criticize during his tenure, and his administration pursued sanctions against Moscow, the Associated Press reported.