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Russia to expel 10 US diplomats, ban several Biden administration officials

Moscow ‘advised’ the US ambassador to Russia to return to Washington for ‘detailed consultations’

Published: Updated:

Russia’s foreign minister announced Friday that 10 US diplomats would be asked to leave the country and eight current and former American officials would be sanctioned.

Sergei Lavrov also said that Russia would proceed with “painful measures to America” and that it would halt the operation of “American funds and organizations that are directly trying to meddle in Russia’s domestic political life.”

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On Thursday, the US issued several sanctions on Russian agencies and officials for their alleged interference in last year’s presidential election.

Speaking during a joint news conference with his Serbian counterpart, the Russian diplomat admitted that the sanctions imposed on Russia’s banking system and its national debt could not be easily reciprocated.

“We don’t have the same leverage,” he said, but claimed that Russian experts said the sanctions would be “quite manageable.”

Among the officials banned from Russia are US Attorney General Merrick Garland, FBI Director Christopher Wray, Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines, Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas and Director of the Domestic Policy Council Susan Rice.

Others on the list are the Director of the Federal Bureau of Prisons Michael Carvajal, former National Security Advisor John Bolton and former CIA chief Robert Woolsey.

It was also revealed that Moscow ‘advised’ the US ambassador to Russia, John Sullivan, to return to Washington for ‘detailed consultations’ during a meeting earlier in the week.

Russia's ambassador to the US has not been in Washington for the better part of a month after Biden said his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin was a killer.

Other moves Russia will respond to the latest sanctions with include limiting the number of non-US staff at its consulates and embassy in Russia.

Russia will also limit the number of what Lavrov called visas for 'short-term trips' of US diplomats to Moscow for unclear reasons.

Read more: New US sanctions against Russia won’t ‘help’ Putin-Biden summit plans: Kremlin