The Russian government will soon present a list of unfriendly countries, the criteria are clear, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said in an interview with Sputnik.
“I think [it will happen] soon. The government has specific instructions, the criteria by which we are guided in this work are clear. So, I think, we will not have to wait long,” Lavrov said in an interview published on Wednesday.
“If we come to the conclusion that nothing else can be done, I believe the list will be updated from time to time,” Lavrov said, stressing that the list that is currently being drafted may be revised in the future.
The minister noted that “unfriendly” countries will be banned from hiring staff in Russia, not only among Russians, but among citizens of third nations as well.
Last week, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree to limit the number of Russians employed by foreign diplomatic missions of countries that are determined to be unfriendly toward Russia, and the foreign ministry was tasked with drawing up the list.
The announcement comes amid heightened tensions between Moscow and Washington over anti-Russia sanctions, based on accusations of election interference and Moscow’s alleged role in the SolarWinds hack. Russia has strongly denied these allegations as lacking any evidence, adding that the sanctions run contrary to the interests of the two nations, and has issued response measures.
Meanwhile, the top Russian diplomat stressed that the United Kingdom is playing a significant subversive role in relations between Russia and the European Union.
“As far as the relations between Russia and Europe are concerned, I still believe that the UK is playing an active and a very serious subversive role. It withdrew from the European Union, but we see no decrease in its activities on this track. On the contrary, they are trying to influence EU member states’ approaches to Russia to the maximum possible extent.”
“At the same time, you know, they send us signals, they propose establishing contacts. This means, they do not shy away from communication [with Russia], but try to discourage others. Again, probably [this can be explained by] their desire to have a monopoly of these contacts and again prove that they are superior to others.”