“Unfriendly” embassies may face Russia’s ban on employment

Moscow (AP)-Russian President Vladimir Putin tells the country to limit the number of Russians employed at embassies in countries determined to be unfriendly, or to ban their employment altogether. I have signed a permitting law.

The measure, announced by the Kremlin on Friday, takes place amid a surge in the expulsion of Russian diplomats from the United States and European countries and the retaliatory expulsion of Moscow.

The decree requires the government to make a list of countries that have been determined to be unfriendly. It affects not only the embassies of those countries, but also the offices of consulates and national institutions.

Last week, the United States expelled 10 Russian diplomats in connection with its intervention in the 2020 US presidential election and its involvement in the federal agency’s SolarWinds hack.

Embassy of the Russian Federation in Slovakia
Information boards about the building of the Russian Federation Embassy in Slovakia can be seen in downtown Bratislava on April 22, 2021. (Vladimir Simisek via Getty Images / AFP)

Last week, the Czech Republic expelled 18 Russian envoys they named spies and urged Russia to send 20 Czech diplomats home. It devastated the activities of the Czech embassy in Moscow, ordered the Czech authorities to leave 63 Russian diplomats on Thursday, and allowed both countries to have the same number of staff in their respective embassies.

Poland said it had banished three Russians last week and Moscow had banished five in retaliation. The Baltic states of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia have ordered a total of four Russian envoys to leave.