Vehicles pass the U.S. Embassy in Moscow, Russia on August 21, 2017. REUTERS / Grigory Dukor // Photo from file
On Friday, the Russian government said it has officially recognized the United States and the Czech Republic as “unfriendly” states and that US diplomatic missions can no longer recruit local personnel, while Czech missions can recruit a maximum of 19 people.
Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a law last month limiting the number of local personnel working in foreign diplomatic missions and other agencies, and ordered the government to draw up a list of “unfriendly” states that would be subject to the restrictions.
Relations between Russia and the Czech Republic were hit hard last month when Czechs accused Russian military intelligence of involvement in a 2014 ammunition depot explosion and expelled dozens of Russian diplomats.
Russia denied the accusations and responded by expelling Czech diplomats, and ordered the Czechs to fire most of their local employees in Moscow, many of whom worked in the city’s Czech hospitality and business center.
On Friday, the Czech Foreign Ministry said Russia’s decision contradicted an international agreement obliging countries to ensure the orderly functioning of diplomatic missions.
The Czechs viewed the actions of the Russian Federation as a further escalation of the conflict between the two countries, the ministry said in a statement.
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