Friday April 16, 2021
Revenge for sanctions
Moscow forbids two US ministers from entering the country
After a hacker attack allegedly orchestrated by Moscow, US President Biden imposed sanctions and deported several Russian diplomats. The Kremlin is now reacting, among other things, with entry bans. Cabinet members of the US government are also affected.
In response to new US sanctions, Russia has issued entry bans on two ministers and senior US officials in President Joe Biden’s administration. As the Russian Foreign Ministry also announced, secret service director Avril Haines and FBI chief Christopher Wray are no longer allowed to travel to Russia. Further entry bans were reportedly imposed on US Attorney General Merrick Garland, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, Biden’s domestic affairs adviser Susan Rice, the chief of the US law enforcement agency, Michael Carjaval, the former National Security Advisor John Bolton and the former CIA chief Robert Wolsey.
Russia had previously announced the expulsion of ten US diplomats. In addition, US Ambassador John Sullivan had been advised to travel to Washington for “serious consultations”, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said in Moscow. Russia had already withdrawn its ambassador, Anatoly Antonov, from Washington. Lavrov said Russia will also restrict the work of US organizations and foundations that interfere in the country’s internal affairs. Business trips by US diplomats to Russia would also be largely cut back. Three Polish diplomats were also expelled from the country.
The day before, the USA announced the expulsion of ten Russian diplomats from the USA because of alleged Russian interference in the US presidential election in November and a cyber attack. In addition, a number of new sanctions have been imposed. These include six Russian technology companies that support Moscow’s secret services. In addition, according to the USA, 32 people and organizations are being sanctioned who tried to influence the US elections at Moscow’s behest.
Poland, for its part, had expelled three Russian diplomats and justified the decision by saying that Russian embassy staff had violated the applicable conditions for diplomats and had acted to the detriment of Poland. The country was in solidarity with the decisions that the USA had made in its policy towards Russia, it was said in Warsaw.
The historical rivalry between the USA and Russia had recently intensified. Biden has announced a tougher course with Moscow after his predecessor Donald Trump was accused of too much indulgence with Russian President Vladimir Putin. In March, Biden caused a sensation when, in a television interview, when asked whether he considered Putin a “murderer”, he replied “I do”.
After the punitive measures, Biden initially struck a more conciliatory tone and emphasized that he did not want to further exacerbate tensions with Moscow. The Kremlin welcomed Biden’s desire to de-escalate. The two presidents had spoken to each other on the phone just a few days ago. Biden proposed a meeting of the heads of state in a third country.