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Russia to add US to 'unfriendly states' list as Putin and Biden's diplomatic row escalates


Russia’s foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova’s announcement comes as the Russian Foreign Ministry stressed the list is in response to “hostility” from other countries. Countries included on the blacklist will not be allowed to hire Russian citizens for diplomatic missions. Vladimir Putin said last week the international community is “picking on Russia without any reason” despite Russian-led military escalations on the border with Ukraine, Crimea and cyber-attacks across the world.

Ms Zakharova said: “As you know, yesterday (24th April) the decree of President [Vladimir Putin] was published, which contains a whole number of measures on fulfilling the already existing federal laws, under which those states, which are declared unfriendly, cannot hire Russian citizens as staff for their diplomatic and consular missions.

“We have always highlighted that our foreign policy is absolutely peaceful… but we have also always stressed that all steps, which we consider as unfriendly and hostile will never remain unanswered.

“As we understand, the whole story began with another wave of unfriendly US steps… as you understand and I can confirm this, naturally, the US is on this list.”

She explained that other “other states” will appear on the “unfriendly states list”, “as soon as the government’s decree is published and the respective list emerges.”

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The comments as earlier this week Ms Zakharova hit out at the USA and EU in a stinging attack on their response to the pandemic.

She said: “It turns out the European Union, specifically Germany, France and many other countries and also the U.S. couldn’t offer anything to the world as an example of dealing with the pandemic.”

The Russian spokeswoman added: “Let’s be realists, the European Union simply lost time, it could have been a leader in inoculations, a leader in vaccine production but that didn’t happen.

“Why? Politicisation tied their hands, EU officials tied the hands of industrialists and businesses and ultimately tied the hands of their own people.”

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He added:  “With the Germans, it was the gas pipeline, that’s their point of weakness.”

But the former defence attaché said: “With Britain, it’s Britains’ changing relationship with Europe.

“Whatever you say, we have put ourselves in a different place to where we were prior to 2016.”

The defence expert went on to explain how Putin “doesn’t know yet what that means in terms of weakness” as “it’s not entirely clear” but will “scratch away” at areas of contention including the future relationship of the USA and NATO.


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