Russia marks US and Czech Republic as ‘unfriendly countries’; embassies pinched

There‘s no way to mess with Russia. Once again, the Kremlin exudes this with a list of ‘unfriendly countries‘ that has been in force since last week. The US and the Czech Republic are the first elect. Their diplomatic missions are being curred.

โ€œ Countries that have carried out unfriendly acts towards the Russian Federationโ€ may accept at their embassies and consulates a maximum number of residents of Russia. For the Czech Republic there are nineteen; the US is not allowed to hire any Russian anymore and will have to fly in its interpreters and electricians.

The American representation in Russia has been severly shortened in recent years.

In 2013, the embassy in Moscow and three consulates still had more than 900 local employees and 300 employees flown in.

But today, the embassy in Moscow alone serves all eleven time zones of Russia. In 2017, Russia decimated the permissible number of diplomatic employees of the US. President Trump replied with the closure of three Russian consulates in the US and announced the closure of the US consulates in Ekaterinburg and Vladivostok last December.

Under Biden, American-Russian relations have only deteriorated further. Putin’s unfriendly list follows a month in which Washington and Moscow repeatedly expel ten diplomats in the aftermath of a hacking scandal for which Russia is held accountable.

Dismissals

Washington anticipated the personnel restraint and dismissed 75 percent of its employees at the end of April. Almost all services not related to migration or diplomatic missions were suspended. Russians who want to go on holiday in the US will now have to apply for their visa in a third country.

But with this dismissals the Americans were a tad premature: when the list was published on Friday it became known that the staff ban was temporarily postponed.

Until recently, few people had seen the Czech candidacy coming. Many Czechs look at Russia with skepticism, but their President Milos Zeman likes to flirt with the Kremlin.

But

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April 17, Prague brought out a shocking suspicion. In 2014, two Russian spies would have detonated in an arms depot, killing two people. The Czech Republic exited 18 diplomats from the Russian Embassy. They would all be employees of the Russian secret services. Russia responded by evicting twenty Czech diplomats.

After these evictions, the Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated that it had five diplomats and nineteen local staff in Moscow. It will therefore remain with the local crew, now that the Czech Republic has the dubious honor of being an ‘unfriendly country’.

Moscow expressly retains the possibility to add open new countries to the list.