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Top EU Diplomat Criticizes Russia's List Of 'Unfriendly States'

May 16, 2021

The European Union has criticized Russia's decision to categorize the United States and the Czech Republic as "unfriendly" states, saying the move is not justified.

The Russian government published its official list of "unfriendly" countries on May 14. It pledged to apply the measure to other countries if they engage in "unfriendly actions."

The designation will bar the United States from hiring local personnel for its diplomatic missions in Russia, and caps the number of local hires for the Czech Republic at 19.

In remarks made in Brussels late on May 15, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said the EU deplored allegations from Moscow of "unfriendly actions" perpetrated against Russia.

"We call on Russia to review its decision, to avoid a further deterioration of our relationship that is already under strain. The EU will continue to coordinate its position with its partners," he said.

"We express full solidarity with the Czech Republic, an EU member state, and the United States of America and call on Russia to fully respect the Vienna Convention," Borrell added.

Russia's decision was also criticized by European Council President Charles Michel who on May 15 called the Russian government's action "another escalatory step" that "undermines diplomatic relations."

Relations between Prague and Moscow have soured considerably following Czech accusations on April 17 that Russia was involved in a deadly arms-depot blast on Czech territory in 2014.

The two countries have engaged in harsh rhetoric and tit-for-tat diplomatic expulsions in the weeks since, with the Czechs backed by Brussels and Washington.

Based on reporting by dpa and Reuters

Source: https://www.rferl.org/a/top-eu-diplomat- criticizes-russia-list-of-unfriendly -states-/31257678.html

Copyright (c) 2021. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.

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