In the aftermath of the announcement of U.S. sanctions against Russia over alleged election interference and hacker attacks, it was the Kremlin’s turn to announce its predictable retaliation.
Eight people who hold or have held positions of responsibility in the US administration will be barred from entering Russia. This is symbolic, given that Susan Rice (Home Policy Council), one of those affected, was not due to visit Moscow so soon.
In addition, ten diplomats will be expelled, the same number indicated by the government of Joe Biden on Thursday (15), for espionage.
This type of face-to-face retaliation is common in such cases. It was like that during the crisis between Russia and the UK over the assassination attempt on a former Russian agent who was living in England in 2018, for example.
Yet it is yet another element of tension between the two governments at a time when there are military movements around Ukraine that the Kremlin on Friday called “still very dangerous”, in the words of its spokesperson. lyrics by Dmitri Peskov.
In response to a threatening position by the Kiev government to attempt to recapture areas occupied by pro-Russian rebels in 2014, Moscow has concentrated around 80,000 troops on the borders with its neighbor.
The two began a series of provocative military exercises, and the United States joined the match alongside Kiev, with Biden taking harsh rhetoric against
The unrest in the region came after President Vladimir Putin annexed Crimea after an Allied government in Kiev fell in early 2014, sparking a civil war that has already killed 14,000 people under a ceasefire brittle.
Biden decided to take a breather, suggesting a summit over the phone to Putin, and two days later he determined the sanctions. Indeed, they are not citing Ukraine, but other common American complaints about Putin.
This can theoretically facilitate the progress of the negotiations, given that neither side really wants a potentially disastrous conflict. Ukraine is not part of NATO (a Western military alliance), but it has several defense cooperations and a Russian invasion would tend to bring Europeans into conflict.
Still, there is a lot of mutual mistrust.
“Clearly they [Putin e Biden] differ in understanding how to build a mutually beneficial relationship taking into account each other’s interests, “Peskov said earlier. He said that” our American counterparts’ obsession with sanctions remains unacceptable.
China, Russia’s ally in the United Nations Security Council and fervent critic of the economic sanctions it receives from the United States due to the restriction of Hong Kong’s autonomy, has defended Putin. “[As medidas] they constitute a policy of brute force and hegemonic “harassment”, “said Chinese Chancellery spokesman Zhao Lijian.
Russian retaliation may take the form of some trade veto with US companies, but in practice this is already largely prohibited. And the main US sanction, aimed at curbing foreign trade in Russian treasury bills, cannot be effectively replicated by Moscow.
Besides the US case, Russia decided to expel five Polish diplomats, also in response to similar action by the government in Warsaw. According to Russian Chancellor Sergei Lavrov, the Kremlin has recommended US Ambassador to the country John Sullivan to go to “serious consultations” in Washington,
At the same time, Lavrov welcomed Biden’s offer for a summit, which last month agreed with an interviewer who called Putin a murderer.