Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a law capping the number of Russians allowed to work in “unfriendly” countries’ embassies, or banning their employment entirely.
Coming amid a flurry of diplomatic expulsions over accusations of election interference and involvement in deadly explosions, Putin’s decree signed Friday orders the government to draw up a list of “unfriendly” states subject to the restrictions.
A top aide to Putin said Sunday that a possible summit between the Russian leader and his U.S. counterpart Joe Biden could take place in June.
The White House on Friday said that in June Biden would be attending the G7 summit in the United Kingdom and the NATO and EU summits in Brussels, but it did not clarify if Biden would also seek to include a potential summit with Putin during the trip.
U.S. President Joe Biden on Saturday recognized the 1915 killings of Armenians by Ottoman forces as genocide, a watershed moment for descendants of the hundreds of thousands of dead as he defied decades of pressure by Turkey.
Starting with Uruguay in 1965, nations including France, Germany, Canada and Russia have recognized the genocide, but a U.S. statement has been a paramount goal that proved elusive under previous presidents.
Czech President Milos Zeman took a rare swipe at Moscow on Sunday, likening two deadly blasts on Czech soil to terror attacks and comparing the suspected Russian culprits to bumbling cartoon characters.
But in a separate televised address that day, Zeman said Russia may not have been behind the 2014 blast and called for patience until an ongoing police investigation wraps up. Russian lawmakers reacted immediately with demands for Czech leaders to apologize to Moscow.
‘Call from the Kremlin’
Chelsea football club owner Roman Abramovich was among the first to withdraw from a breakaway European Super League after receiving an “unmistakable hint” from the Kremlin, Germany’s Suddeutsche Zeitung publication reported late Friday.
The Russian billionaire’s decision was politically motivated, the outlet said, because the state-controlled energy firm Gazprom sponsors the UEFA Champions League and St. Petersburg is set to host several Euro 2020 games.
AFP contributed reporting to this article.