Russian President Vladimir Putin has branded the United States an "unfriendly" country. His administration set forth a new legal stamp on the strain with Washington in advance of meetings with President Joe Biden's government. Russian officials also included the Czech Republic on the list along with the U.S. This pairing alludes to April's contention over an alleged spy scandal as the root of the designation.
Russia Labels U.S., Czech Republic 'Unfriendly'
The brand was according to a document published on Friday on Russia's official legal information portal. The document indicated, "To approve the attached list of foreign states committing unfriendly actions against Russia, citizens of Russia or Russian legal entities, against which countermeasures established by the decree of Russian President Vladimir Putin dated April 23, 2021, No 243... shall be applied," reported ANI.
However, regarding the Czech Republic, Russia stopped short of the complete ban on hiring local staff that the designation envisages. The document was published on Friday on the official website. The Czech mission could employ a maximum of 19 local staff.
The country made the declaration amid growing tensions with the West and the wake of blacklistings of its diplomats by the United States, Czech Republic, and their allies. Per the new rules, nations designated as having implemented "unfriendly actions" against Russia are imposed bans on their embassies hiring local staff.
The decree was signed by Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin, indicating the "unfriendly states" that have executed "unfriendly actions" against Russia, Russian entities, or Russian nationals. According to Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov on Friday, Moscow remained ready for dialogue. Russia now had two nations on its "unfriendly states" list, reported The Times of India.
According to the Czech Foreign Ministry, "We consider this action by the Russian Federation as a further step to escalation of relations not only with the Czech Republic but also the European Union as such and its allies." It is a move to further escalation of relations, reported National Post.
Czech Foreign Minister Jakub Kulhanek commanded Moscow to draw out dozens of officials from the Prague Russian Embassy. It is a crackdown that could prompt Russia to gash its spy presence at an embassy largely regarded as a regional center for Russian intelligence operations. According to a Czech official, that is their twisted interpretation of reality.
Last month, the Russian president signed a decree on countermoves against "unfriendly" moves of foreign states amid an amplified diplomatic row with the U.S. and many European nations. The countries included in the list will either be prohibited entirely from employing Russian staff at their diplomatic missions or receive a cap on the number of locally hired employees.
Russian media had reported the administration was looking to add more European countries to the unfriendly brand. For now, the official list indicated merely two. The list is open to amendments.