Russia calls US, Czech Republic 'unfriendly' states, limits embassy hires
Iran Press TV
Saturday, 15 May 2021 6:57 AM
The Russian government says it has officially deemed the United States and the Czech Republic "unfriendly" countries, imposing restrictions on hiring local staffers by their diplomatic missions.
The Russian government declared on its official website Friday the US and the Czech Republic were countries that "commit unfriendly actions towards Russia, Russian citizens or Russian legal entities."
Referring to a presidential decree last month on the employment of people living in Russia by diplomatic missions of unfriendly countries, the website said, "The Czech Republic would be allowed to hire no more than 19 Russian nationals to work for its embassy, and the United States, not a single one."
Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a law on April 23 to limit the number of local staff working at foreign diplomatic missions and other agencies, and ordered the government to prepare a list of "unfriendly" states that would be subject to the restrictions.
Moscow first announced the ban on the US hiring local staff last month as part of a retaliatory move against Washington after the administration of US President Joe Biden imposed sanctions on Russia for alleged interference in the 2020 US presidential election, which Moscow has categorically denied.
Biden said in an interview that he believed Putin was a "killer" and that the Russian president would have to "pay a price" for meddling in the last year's election race.
Also, relations between Russia and the Czech Republic turned sour last month when the Czech authorities accused Russian military intelligence of being behind a 2014 blast at an ammunition depot, and expelled dozens of Russian diplomats.
Russia rejected the allegations and retaliated by expelling the Czech diplomats.
The Czech foreign ministry said on Friday that the latest Russian move was at odds with international law and would further escalate the row between the two countries.
The ministry censured the decision as "another step in the escalation of the relations, not just with the Czech Republic but also with the European Union and its allies".
"It absolutely contradicts the Vienna convention about diplomatic relations, especially the commitment of the signatories to enable the proper functioning of diplomatic missions based on the principle of no-discrimination between individual states," it added.
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