The expected Russia reaction to Biden’s Thursday sanctions rollout for the alleged SolarWinds hack and general election ‘interference’ charges has come: ten US diplomats have been expelled from Russia on order of the foreign ministry. This is the precise number that the US ordered booted from the Russian embassy in Washington.

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in a Friday press briefing announced, “Ten diplomats were on a list the US side handed over to us asking to ensure their leaving the United States. We will give a tit-for-tat response to that. We will also ask ten US diplomats to leave our country.” He added further that “the Americans will be asked to bring the number of employees in Russia in line with the number of Russians in the United States.”

He also charged that American NGOs as well as US funds will be banned from “interfering” in Russian affairs, but it’s unclear the exact actions the Kremlin will take. He further teased that Russia still holds out the possibility of inflicting “painful measures” on US businesses, but stopped short by saying it won’t go that far at this time.

Earlier in the day Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov slammed Washington’s “addiction to sanctions” which remains “unacceptable” – explaining further “President Putin has spoken about the appropriateness of building relations, normalizing relations and de-escalating relations.”

Following this, a prominent pro-Putin TV pundit declared the current outraged sentiment in Moscow

“There can be no de-escalation in relations between Russia and the U.S., all of Biden’s complimentary words to Moscow are absolutely empty rhetoric,” he said.

This follows Biden’s late Thursday address wherein he expressed hope for a ‘de-escalation’ of the situation, particularly in regards to Ukraine. The expelling of the ten American diplomats is being described as appropriate “reciprocity” by the Kremlin, but that Russia’s stability is “fully ensured.”

As for the White House taking aim at Russia’s sovereign debt, which saw the US announce it will ban American banks from buying new Russian sovereign debt starting June 14, Russia’s central bank had this to say: “The Bank of Russia notes that the share of foreign investors in the total volume of government debt and even more so in primary placements has significantly decreased over the past year.”

“The Bank of Russia, if necessary, is ready to use the instruments at its disposal in order to preserve financial stability.”

Apparently, after all of this the Biden-proposed face-to-face summit offer for this summer is still on the table, with Finland offering to host according to a Friday announcement.

Republished from with permission

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