Moscow will kick out 10 U.S. diplomats in response to the Biden administration’s latest round of sanctions against Russian officials, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Friday as the rift between the two old Cold War foes grows deeper.
The Kremlin did not immediately name the 10 American diplomats, but Mr. Lavrov did say that Russia also will slap new sanctions on an additional eight U.S. officials. He also threatened that Russia in the future could pursue “painful measures” against American companies doing business in Moscow.
The announcement by the Kremlin comes a day after President Biden ordered new sanctions on more than three dozen Russian officials in response to the “SolarWinds” cyberattack against the U.S. government and private companies and for Moscow‘s efforts to influence the 2020 presidential election.
Mr. Biden also signed an executive order that expelled 10 diplomats from the Russian Embassy in Washington.
The deepening battle between Washington and Moscow intensified last month after Mr. Biden referred to Russian President Vladimir Putin as a “killer” during an interview with ABC News. Russia immediately recalled its ambassador to the U.S. and expressed outrage over the remark.
While Mr. Biden and Mr. Putin have spoken since then, the relationship seems to be deteriorating.
The dueling diplomatic and financial moves also come against the backdrop of Russia massing troops along its border with Ukraine. The White House has warned Moscow repeatedly in recent days to respect the sovereignty of its neighbors.
“Ten diplomats were on a list the U.S. 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 10 U.S. diplomats to leave our country,” Mr. Lavrov said, as quoted by Russian media outlets.
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