Russia on Friday responded to the new U.S. sanctions by saying it would expel 10 U.S. diplomats and take other retaliatory moves. Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov also said Moscow will add eight U.S. officials to its sanctions list. Russia will also move to deny the U.S. Embassy the possibility to hire personnel from Russia and third countries as support staff, limit visits by U.S. diplomats serving short-term stints at the embassy, and tighten requirements for U.S. diplomats’ travel in the country. Lavrov called Washington’s move “absolutely unfriendly and unprovoked,” and he said that Russia could take “painful measures” against. He suggested that Russia also may ask the U.S. to reduce the number of its embassy and consular staff from about 450 to 300. Lavrov said Russia had a “positive attitude” to a summit offer from the American part.
Despite the soaring tensions, Russia and the U.S. have shared interests in many global hot spots. The response, mostly mirroring the diplomatic rebuke by the United States from the day before, suggested the Russian government did not intend an escalation. “The United States is not looking to kick off a cycle of escalation and conflict with Russia. We want a stable, predictable relationship,” the President Biden affirmed earlier this week at the White House.