Matching US Sanctions, Russia Expels 10 American Diplomats

Russia announced late Friday it will expel 10 U.S. diplomats from Moscow in a tit-for-tat response to Washington’s decision to send 10 Russian diplomats packing under a wide-ranging U.S. sanctions package levied against Moscow earlier this week.Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov announced the retaliatory moves during a press conference with his Serbian counterpart in Moscow.Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov attends a news conference in Moscow, Russia, April 16, 2021.”Ten diplomats were included in the list that was sent to us with a request that they leave,” said Lavrov in announcing the expulsions. “We will respond to this measure in kind.”In Russian President Vladimir Putin gestures during a meeting via video conference outside Moscow, Russia, April 15, 2021.Less clear is what effect the diplomatic fallout will have on a U.S.-proposed summit between President Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin.Biden suggested during a phone call with Putin earlier this week that the two leaders meet in a neutral third country.Following the sanctions announcement, he also suggested the two sides seek to deescalate tensions.”The United States is not looking to kick off a cycle of escalation and conflict with Russia,” Biden said. “We want a stable, predictable relationship.”On Friday, the Kremlin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov signaled that Russia was weighing its options but had not yet ruled out a meeting.Putin “has repeatedly said we’re ready to develop dialogue as much as our counterparts are ready to do so,” said Peskov in comments to journalists.”In this sense it is probably positive that the views of the two heads of state coincide,” he added.