Russia responds to US sanctions, but remains open to the top

Russia unveiled its response to new US sanctions on Friday, including the expulsion of diplomats and a ban on senior officials from entering its territory, while saying it was open to the idea of ​​holding a summit between Vladimir Putin and Joe Biden, which is “positive.” “Suggestion.

Also read: Biden punishes Moscow and expels ten Russian diplomats

This new exchange of punitive measures comes at a time when relations between the two geopolitical rivals continue to deteriorate against the backdrop of accusations by the United States of interfering, especially in the 2020 US presidential elections, with espionage and cyberattacks.

Washington announced, on Thursday, additional sanctions targeting Russia, including the expulsion of ten Russian diplomats, and a ban on American banks from purchasing direct debt issued by this country after June 14.

Moscow’s response was swift, with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov announcing on Friday the expected expulsion of 10 American diplomats, various restrictions that will make life more complicated in American representations in Russia, as well as the banning of American institutions and NGOs on its soil. “Overt interference” in its domestic policy.

And many members of the Biden government will no longer be allowed by Russia to stay there: These are the ministers of justice, homeland security, domestic policy advisor, the head of the FBI, and the director of intelligence.

Lavrov also announced that Moscow “recommended” US Ambassador John Sullivan to return to Washington for “intensive and serious consultations.”

Meanwhile, the Russian ambassador to Washington, Anatoly Antonov, was summoned to Moscow on March 17th, for “consultations”, after Joe Biden described Vladimir Putin as a “murderer.”

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According to him, Moscow reserves the right to take other “painful measures” against American companies, but “keeps them in reserve.”

Moscow will also expel five Polish diplomats, in response to Warsaw’s diplomacy with three Russians.

‘De-escalation’

As usual after each wave of sanctions, the Kremlin earlier on Friday called the new US sanctions “unacceptable.”

Néanmoins, le Kremlin s’est montré plutôt satisfait des mots du président américain Joe Biden, qui estime que “le moment de la désescalade est venu” et a jugé nécessaire une rencontre bilatérale “cet été en Europe pour lique l’étique stability”.

Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov replied that “President Putin (the first) spoke about the necessity of normalizing relations and stopping escalation.”

He viewed “positively” that “the views of the two presidents coincide.”

On Friday, the Russian Foreign Ministry announced that it looks “positively” at the American idea of ​​holding a summit between the Russian and American presidents. The proposal is “currently under consideration” in Moscow.

Since coming to power, Joe Biden has promised to be more assertive than his predecessor, Donald Trump, who is accused of appeasing the Kremlin master.

But the US president also suggested earlier this week to his Russian counterpart that they hold a summit on neutral soil, which Finland and Austria are preparing to host.

Tensions over Ukraine

Relations between Russia and the United States have seen a significant deterioration since 2014 and Russia’s annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea peninsula. Even under Donald Trump, who has made no secret of his appreciation for Vladimir Putin, Washington has stepped up sanctions.

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The ones announced on Thursday are in response to the massive 2020 cyber attack, which Russia was accused of and used SolarWinds, a US software publisher whose product had been compromised, to insert a vulnerability into its users, including several US federal agencies.

After direct questioning by Washington, the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service spoke of “delusions.”

This Russian-American ballet comes at a time of increasing Russian-Ukrainian tensions, as Ukraine criticizes Moscow for seeking a war justification for its invasion, and Russia claims that Kiev is preparing to launch an attack against pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine.

The West called on Moscow to reduce its forces in the region and expressed support for Kiev. On Friday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky met with French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Zelensky, who was in Paris, said he hoped to resume the truce in the conflict with the pro-Russian separatists next week and called for a summit with Vladimir Putin under French-German mediation.

Russia: Justice wants to classify Navalny’s movement as “extremist”

On Friday, Russian justice demanded that several organizations of imprisoned opponent Alexei Navalny be declared “extremist” and thus banned.

The Moscow Prosecutor’s Office said in a statement: “Under the guise of liberal slogans, these organizations are working to create conditions to destabilize the social, social and political situation,” explaining that they had asked a court in Moscow to classify them as “extremist.” “The Anti-Corruption Fund (FBK) and the opponent’s regional offices.

The statement stated that “the real goals of their activities are to create conditions to change the foundations of the constitutional order, including the use of the” color revolution “scenario.

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Alexei Navalny, 44, announced on March 31 that he would stop eating in protest of his conditions of detention, accusing the prison administration of refusing to see a doctor while he suffered from a double herniated disc, according to his lawyer.

The opponent said that the prison administration threatened to feed him by force.

Alexei Navalny was imprisoned for two and a half years over a fraud case dating back to 2014, which is widely seen as a pretext for his imprisonment.

The judicial crackdown on dissent has intensified recently.

On Friday, a Russian court sentenced a collaborator with the opponent who works for the FBK to two years in prison for posting “extremist” tweets.

Thursday, his ally Lyubov Sobol received a suspended sentence for violating the home of a suspected FSB agent

On Wednesday, Russian police raided the editorial board of a student newspaper and the homes of four of its editors, who made a video of the crackdown on supporters of Alexei Navalny.

Also see Highlights of the Navalny Case

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