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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Iran Press TV

Russia to prepare list of 'unfriendly' states soon

Iran Press TV

Wednesday, 28 April 2021 9:37 AM

Russia says it will soon present a list of governments deemed "unfriendly" to the state, following a decree by President Vladimir Putin to clearly identify and take countermeasures against hostile countries.

"The government has specific instructions, the criteria by which we are guided in this work are clear. So, I think, we will not have to wait long," Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told Russia's Sputnik news website on Wednesday.

He made the remarks days after Putin signed the decree and tasked the Foreign Ministry with drawing up a list.

Putin's order puts a limit on the number of the staff who can work at foreign diplomatic missions and other agencies.

The order also authorizes Moscow to restrict or ban employment contracts with "state bodies and state institutions of foreign states committing unfriendly acts against the Russian Federation."

The president issued the decree amid growing tensions between Moscow and Western countries.

The administration of US President Joe Biden recently imposed sanctions on Russia over alleged cyberattacks, human rights violations, and the Ukrainian conflict.

The White House said the sanctions were not designed to escalate bilateral tensions but to impose costs on Moscow for what Washington feels "are unacceptable actions by the Russian government."

Lavrov described those remarks as "schizophrenic notes."

He also warned that relations between the nuclear powers could be returned to the Cold War-era if Washington continued to reject dialog with Moscow.

The Kremlin had earlier described the US sanctions as unacceptable and said the measures would not "help" the prospect of a summit proposed by the US president to be held between him and Putin.

During a phone call with Putin earlier this month, Biden proposed that he meet the Russian president to discuss the issues between their two countries.

But that proposal came after Biden called Putin a "killer," prompting Moscow to recall the Russian ambassador to Washington for consultations, even though the Russian president himself took that comment dismissively.

When he issued the degree, Putin stressed that Russia was willing to be on good terms with all members of the international community.

"We truly do not want to burn bridges," he said, "But if one perceives our goodwill as indifference or weakness… they must know that Russia's response will be asymmetrical, quick and brutal."

The developments also come amid heightened tensions between US-led NATO and Russia.

On Tuesday, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu warned that actions by the US and NATO in Europe were contributing to an increased military threat to Russia.

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